The Obama administration admits that the long-term care portion of its health insurance overhaul (otherwise known as Obamacare) won’t work and will be scrapped:
Officials said Friday the long-term care program has critical design flaws that can’t be fixed to make it financially self-sustaining.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Congress in a letter that she does not see a viable path forward at this time. By law, implementation of the program was contingent on Sebelius certifying it financially sound.
The program was supposed to be a voluntary insurance plan for working adults regardless of age or health. Workers would pay an affordable monthly premium during their careers, and could collect a modest daily cash benefit if they became disabled later in life.
The problem all along has been how to ensure enough healthy people would sign up.
It seems like the answer to that problem would have been to force people to buy it, as they will be regular health insurance (assuming the legal challenges to the individual mandate are turned aside by the Supreme Court).
And in other, put-it-out-before-closing-time news, the federal deficit for 2011 is the second largest in history:
The U.S budget deficit for fiscal year 2011 is $1.299 trillion, the second largest shortfall in history.
The nation only ran a larger deficit for the 2009 fiscal year, which included the dramatic collapse of financial markets and a huge bailout effort by the government. The nation’s deficit that year was $1.412 trillion.
This year’s deficit is slightly higher than fiscal year 2010, when the nation ran a $1.293 trillion deficit. Fiscal years run through Sept. 30.
Just how much money is a trillion dollars? UBS’ Art Cashin put it this way:
Thirty years ago an older member of the NYSE (there were some then) gave me a graphic and memorable (at least for me) example. “Young man,” he said, “would you like a million dollars?” “I sure would, sir!”, I replied anxiously. “Then just put aside $500 every week for the next 40 years.” I have never forgotten that a million dollars is enough to pay you $500 per week for 40 years (and that’s without benefit of interest). To get a billion dollars you would have to set aside $500,000 dollars per week for 40 years. And a…..trillion that would require $500 million every week for 40 years. Even with these examples, the enormity is difficult to grasp.
The federal government reached that goal, and more, in 12 months.