AP Exclusive: Long-term care plan alarms ignored

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR | September 14, 2011 | 3:05 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Emails disclosed by congressional investigators show government experts repeatedly warned that a new long-term care insurance plan could go belly up, saddling taxpayers with another underfunded benefit program.

Meanwhile, leading Democrats offered assurances that any problems could be fixed.

The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program was spliced into President Barack Obama's health care law despite nagging budget worries. Administration emails and documents reveal that those alarms were sounded earlier and more widely than previously thought.

One senior official wrote: "Seems like a recipe for disaster to me." Another called it unworkable.

The program's future is one of the issues facing the new congressional debt panel. Republican lawmakers seeking repeal of the program provided the emails and documents to The Associated Press.