Health Care Simplified

I'm apparently a little too lazy to really go back at this full bore, so I'm going to post a couple of links that I recently posted to my facebook account.  They're both wonderfully useful for simplifying the basic contours of health care reform.  First, Nicholas Beaudrot managed to make a single, very accurate, flowchart which shows who is affected by reforms to health insurance and how:

More complicated, but more educational, is Digital Roam's "Health Care on the Back of a Napkin."  Part 1 is linked here.  It's actually a nice summary of the key issues involved.

 

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“Read the Bill!”?

One of the more inane criticisms I've seen from the health care reform opponents is the "Read the Bill!" silliness.  You read the damn bill.  Nobody reads these whole things.  Lots of it is boilerplate legalese.  Lots of it may actually be other bills tacked on that legislator's long ago made up their minds on.  Similarly, the idea that a bill is 1000 pages and therefore the legislation is obviously too complicated, just doesn't really hold up (not as if the Obama = Hitler comparisons exactly hold up either).  Slate's explainer column, does a nice job addressing these issues this week:

 It's now 1,018 pages, to be exact—is that especially long for a bill?…

But major spending bills frequently run more than 1,000. This year's
stimulus bill was 1,100 pages. The climate bill that the House passed
in June was 1,200 pages. Bill Clinton's 1993 health care plan was
famously 1,342 pages long. Budget bills can run even longer: In 2007,
President Bush's ran to 1,482 pages.

Over
the last several decades, the number of bills passed by Congress has
declined: In 1948, Congress passed 906 bills. In 2006, it passed only
482. At the same time, the total number of pages of legislation has
gone up from slightly more than 2,000 pages in 1948 to more than 7,000
pages in 2006. (The average bill length increased over the same period
from 2.5 pages to 15.2 pages.)

Bills are getting longer because
they're getting harder to pass. Increased partisanship over the years
has meant that the minority party is willing to do anything it can to
block legislation—adding amendments, filibustering, or otherwise
stalling the lawmaking process. As a result, the majority party feels
the need to pack as much meat into a bill as it can—otherwise, the
provisions might never get through.

As for reading it:

Furthermore, since bills often read like bureaucratic gibberish,
lawmakers hire aides with various policy specialties to study the
legislation in depth and summarize it. (The job of actually converting
the policy ideas into legislative language goes to the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Counsel.)
So when a lawmaker "reads" a bill, it's usually a combination of
glossing summaries of the less important stuff and, when necessary,
poring over the actual text to understand the more crucial bits.

And no, I won't be spending my next post debunking Obama = Hitler.

 

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