Gov't claims 'zombie' program is reducing deficit

Congressional aides are calling it a zombie in the federal budget.

It's a long-term care plan the Obama administration put on hold, fearing it could go bust if implemented. Yet while the program exists on paper, monthly premiums the government may never collect are being counted as reducing federal deficits.

Real or not, that's $80 billion over the next 10 years.

Robert Bixby, executive director of the anti-deficit Concord Coalition, says it's a budget gimmick that produces phantom savings.

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program, CLASS for short, may just keep lurching along indefinitely.

It was created under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, and is arguably one of the main sources of savings claimed by that law - real or not.


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