Friday, September 25, 2009

"I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help..."

Why, yes, I'd love to turn my health care over to such a hyper-competent group as this:
A proposal by Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., that would have required the Senate Finance Committee to post the final language of the $900 billion health care reform bill, as well as a Congressional Budget Office cost analysis, on the committee’s website for 72 hours prior to a vote was rejected 12-11.


Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., himself admitted that “This probably sounds a little crazy to some people that we are voting on something before we have seen legislative language.” Indeed.

Baucus’ excuse - that it would take his committee staff two weeks to post the bill online – sounds a little crazy too. Finance Committee members are the only ones who vote based on the “plain English” version of a bill, not the legally-binding language.

So they can put together a bill that's going to a) add 15 (or 30 or 47, depending on the President's mood, apparently) million people to the insurance rolls b) while providing improved care c) at lower cost for everyone d) and allowing everyone to keep the coverage they've already got if they want to e) and not increasing the budget deficit f) or increasing taxes1, but they can't post that freakin' bill on the internet? What the hell are they voting on? If there's something to actually debate and vote on2, isn't it in some sort of document form? How low does it take to post a Word document or a .pdf online?

To paraphrase Lord Kelvin, "When you can [write down] what you are speaking about, and express it in [words], you know something about it; but when you cannot [write it down], when you cannot express it in [words], your knowledge of it is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your [committee], advanced it to the stage of [a votable bill]." And obviously, if you can write it down, you can post it on the internet.

It boggles my mind that anyone can watch any part of this process and think, "yes, this is how we're going to make the health care system better for everyone! What could possibly go wrong?"

1 - Every time I write that out, I vacillate between giggling and rage. I giggle that the preposterousness of the suggestion, that there's somehow, some way that increased government intervention is going to lead to any one of those things happening, never mind all six simultaneously, and rage that the President of the United States actually thinks that the US citizens are stupid enough to buy it. He doesn't even have enough respect for the people of this country to try a plausible argument.

2And if the Finance Committee isn't voting on the "legally-binding language" of the bill than they're not voting on the bill at all - they're voting on someone's description of what the bill might be. Everyone knows that the devil's in the details, and they're voting on something that doesn't have those details.

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