The AP dives deep on administration worries about the cost of CLASS, the long-held liberal priority program for old-age care that made it into the Affordable Care Act. The worries are not new, though. Harold Pollack noted two months ago that fiscal conservative Democrats had resented the inclusion of CLASS.
Given Kent Conrad and Max Baucus's dislike of CLASS, I'm not all that surprised by this outcome. The depth of opposition among fiscal conservatives is exemplified by Senator Conrad’s description of the CLASS Act as "a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of." Conrad’s comment rightly infuriated CLASS supporters, but there it is.
One of the many, many missteps made during the health care fight was the insistence -- most often expressed by Peter Orzsag -- that the bill be sold as a deficit-reducing measure. Comprehensive health care reform would be deficit-reducing. The insistence, by itself, wasn't a mistake. But the sort of fundamental reforms that could reduce the cost of the program weren't politically possibly, because... well, I'm going to spare 500 words of explanation and just point out that Washington is dysfunctional. So the health care debate became a battle over piecemeal reform. Voters were never, ever convinced that the bill would save money in the long run. Conservative Democrats tried to correct for that by scaling down expensive-sounding, but actually deficit-reducing, ideas like the Medicare buy-in. For their troubles, they handily lost the 2010 election. And now we're in situation where the costs of programs overwhelm the merits of programs that liberals would otherwise defend.
TODAY IN SLATE
Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case
The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race
How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster
The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented
Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada
You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney
Or at least trade it for something.
- Texas Lab Worker on Cruise Tests Negative for Ebola as Dallas Hospital Apologizes
- Police Use Tear Gas to Break Up College Pumpkin Festival Turned Violent
- Racist Rancher Cliven Bundy Challenges Eric Holder in Bizarre Campaign Ad
- Supreme Court Allows Texas Law That Accepts Handgun Permits but not College IDs to Vote
An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.