Democrats are considering plans to add a new long-term care for seniors program to the health reform legislation now in the Congress, but the move could actually cost them some votes.
The issue is what's known as the CLASS Act, a bill backed by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, designed to help seniors and the disabled get long term care outside of nursing homes.
One issue is the money that would flow into the plan from premiums paid to the federal government. A budget analysis shows the insurance plan would be solvent, bringing in an extra $73 billion over 10 years.
In other words, you could use that kind of budget number to help "pay" for health reform, by including it in the health reform legislation.
But the worry of some Democrats is that it will become a big time budget hole in the future.
"What I want to make sure is that people aren't paying money into a long term program, that will then be taken and used to pay for other things," said Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN).
"I want to make sure we are not setting up another unfunded situation that could really explode the deficit," Bayh said, adding that he had directly warned Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid about his concerns.
So add this issue to the public option, abortion, coverage for illegal immigrants, cost containment and more.
As I like to say, you can't have just one contoversy in a 1,000 page bill.