When the bill was about to become a law, a lot of talking points were established. But it’s now three and a half years later, and I’d like to ask if we could stop with some of them. If I have to hear one more person brag about the fact that, “No one has read the law,” I’m going to scream. This line of attack was awesome when it first appeared. Even though the whole process took, like, forever, there were some who felt that the actual law’s text was too long for a good review before voting. So be it. It also didn’t help that Speaker Pelosi said, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.” Of course, no one ever references that last parenthetical. But that’s irrelevant. It’s been 1258 days since March 10, 2010. That’s plenty of time to read the text. Especially if you’re a politician, and it’s your job to be knowledgeable about the law. I’m baffled by lawmakers’ pride in their know-nothingness.
While we’re at it, can we stop with the 2700 pages thing, too? Here’s a link to the law, and it’s 906 pages. The If you go to healthcare.gov, and click on their version of the law, you’ll find a version that is 974 pages. What’s the difference? It contains parts of the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.” I don’t know what 2700 pages was. Maybe they formatted it in a crazy way. Maybe it was the bill, and included lots of stuff that got eliminated. I don’t know. But it’s not right, and it would be nice to see it go away.
But just pointing out that it’s complex (as mismeasured by its length, or that nobody read it) is about the least helpful thing one can do. Fine, it’s complex. I agree. How about proposing some sensible alternatives that actually address the policy issues? You get bonus points if your alternative recognizes that we need to fix access, quality, as well as cost. Yes, Americans do care about more than just cost.
Forty repeal votes aren’t alternatives. Shutting down the government isn’t an alternative. Whining about how it was passed three years ago isn’t an alternative. Trying to keep people from buying insurance isn’t an alternative. Denying Medicaid isn’t an alternative. Ripping out the individual mandate isn’t an alternative.
And making up stuff about the law and pretending that no one knows what it does aren’t alternatives, either. I really look forward to the day when I see a real debate going on about health care reform outside the blogosphere.