I debated with myself about whether or not to post anything regarding the health care bill’s passage in the House over the weekend. My initial thought was that I didn’t want to add yet another tirade essentially saying nothing more than “this sucks” or “the end of the Republic is nigh”. There’s quite enough of that going on, and I don’t feel the need to add my voice to that chorus.
Besides, I think those who know me well or have gotten to know me through this blog understand that I have no love for politicians regardless of party affiliation and feel strongly that most things coming from Washington should be immediately throw in a toilet and flushed with the rest of the crap.
The tipping point for me in deciding whether or not to write this was when The Queen asked me: “How will it affect us?”
I’ve seen some fairly cogent points made about health care reform, both pro and con, in the blogosphere. One intrepid soul bravely pointed out on a very conservative blog that the U.S. already has socialized medicine in the form of Medicare and the V.A. I know I’ve heard that point made in slightly different terms frequently on the conservative talk shows for months now, but it never really sank in until now. Is that what the rest of us are getting now? Are we going to have an American version of the Canadian health care system or Britain’s much beleaguered NHS?
The short answer to The Queen’s question and the ones I added is: I have absolutely no idea, and I don’t think anyone else does either.
Let’s take a look at some facts for a minute.
According to my Adobe reader, The Senate health care bill is 2409 pages of typical legislative legalese, and the House reconciliation bill is an additional 153 pages. The Table of Contents alone is 17 pages long. I don’t know about you; but, if you’ve ever tried reading legislation, they’re not exactly page turners. To say that this could cure insomnia is a comedic understatement. To say that I don’t have the time or enough caffeine to read through this bill and figure out what it says is cold hard reality. My guess is that a majority of people are in the same boat with me.
Does the bill provide funding for abortion? I have no clue, and I’m betting you don’t either. Yes, Princess Nancy and every other horse thief in Congress has assured us that it doesn’t, but when was the last time a politician lied? Oh yeah…the last time their mouth was open. Even if there is a clause in there saying “Title I. Part A. Section 12. Thou shall not use Federal funds for abortions.”, there could easily be an exception clause tucked away 100 or 1000 pages further in saying “Title XX. Part Z. Section 4000.(subpart xxii.) …except in cases where you got knocked up ‘cause you’re unemployed and bored or too stupid to know better”.
Second, this is most definitely not a bipartisan bill. The vote was 219 to 212 with ALL Republicans voting against it. If anyone tries to tell you this was a bipartisan effort, they are smoking crack Batman.
Next, I recognize that I live in a generally conservative area and get most of my news via the internet from a variety of sources; but, in all the time that this debate has been ongoing, not once I have seen any polling data suggesting that there was a majority of Americans who were in favor of this bill. So, riddle me this Batman: how can this be the will of the people?
To those of you hoping that the Democrats will lose enough seats in November for Republicans to regain control of Congress and pass a bill repealing this one, you are forgetting one thing. President Obama is still in office until at least 2012 and would immediately veto any such effort to repeal his signature legislative effort. Even I am not optimistic enough to think that the Republicans can win enough seats to get a veto proof 2/3 majority.
Unfortunately, the only way this bill does not go into law is if the Supreme Court strikes it down as unconstitutional. At last count, at 37 states had plans to file suit challenging this bill once it is signed. You can pretty much guarantee that Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer and Stevens will give it a rubber stamp of approval. Chief Justice Roberts along with Justices Thomas, Alito and Scalia are likely to want to punt this back to Congress and say “try again”. That leaves Justice Kennedy as the deciding vote. He could go either way.
One final thought. The Law of Unintended Consequences applies to all of us, conservative or liberal. The health care bill may turn out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread (but I doubt it), or it may be the train wreck that dooms the economy (and the Republic). Right now, no one can say for sure. The only thing I am sure of is that there is no way that a bill this massive will go off as planned.
Not when the government is running it at least.