UPDATED, 10/17/11: On Oct. 14, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it was indefinitely suspending implementation of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program. HHS cited actuarial and solvency impediments as why it could not find “a way to make CLASS work at this time.” Click here for the full report sent to Congress as well as a cover letter from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

It’s getting close to Halloween, which has many of us thinking about ghosts, witches, vampires and zombies.

Apparently, the Obama administration is even getting into the spirit of the season, with a zombie of its own. Perhaps, though, you know it better as the CLASS Act.

CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Supports) is the famous/infamous portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would allow voluntary enrollees to participate in a public long-term care insurance program, and receive guaranteed-issue benefits after making five years of monthly premium payments.

The White House, according to the Associated Press, is counting those premiums as $80 billion in deficit reductions over the next decade. However, AP reports, CLASS has yet to be funded while the administration tries to figure out how to keep the program solvent — while still claiming the savings.

Hence, some on Capitol Hill are calling CLASS a “budget zombie,” according to AP, and Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, tells the wire service that the program is “a gimmick that produces phantom savings.”

Bixby asserts CLASS’ $80 billion savings “should have never been counted as deficit reduction because it was supposed to be set aside to pay for benefits. The fact that they’re not actually doing anything with the program sort of compounds the gimmick.”

What do you think? Is CLASS alive and well or more like the living dead? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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