They say lawmaking in Washington is like sausage making; we’re better off not seeing what goes on behind the scenes. We should just ignore the process and enjoy the end product.
But what if the end product isn’t even sausage? What if it’s dog food? The really cheap kind that’s full of fillers and assorted unidentified ingredients.
That’s where we are with health care reform in the Senate. It appears that Majority Leader Harry Reid now has his 60 votes, after going into a closed-door session last night with Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson and tinkering with the bill’s abortion language. The resulting “manager’s amendment” hasn’t been revealed yet, but it was enough to buy Nelson’s vote, which means it’s probably going to make pro-choice people unhappy. Nelson, you’ll recall, was the senator who tried unsuccessfully to get a Stupak-like amendment added to the senate bill.
So now I have another reason to oppose this bill. Not that I needed one. I am incensed that such important legislation, legislation that’s been kicking around Capitol Hill since sometime last summer, is being held hostage to and strangled by a few individuals with personal axes to grind — not to mention the lobbyists, special interest groups, PACs, unions, insurance companies, Big Pharma, and just about everybody else with a dollar at stake. Everybody, it seems, except the average American patient; we aren’t being consulted.
Now that Reid has his 60 votes, he’ll be pressing to get the bill passed before his Christmas deadline. Voting on amendments is supposed to start very early (1 am) Monday morning. Voting on the bill as a whole will be on Christmas Eve. Urgent! Before Christmas! Why? It’s going to magically change over the holidays if no one is there? There’s supposed to be great value in “sleeping on it” and viewing with “fresh eyes” when writing important documents and making important decisions. Surely this is one of those documents, one of those decisions. Isn’t it?
I can’t imagine anything more reckless, ridiculous, and self-serving than rushing to pass “the most important piece of legislation in 30 years” because of some artificially imposed deadline. Mistakes will be put in or left in or overlooked. Language will be ill-considered and have unintended consequences. Screw this up, as our lawmakers seem hell-bent on doing, and we’ll spend the next 30 years trying to fix it.
The only thing these men and women seem to care about now is cashing in for themselves and their benefactors, getting home for the holidays, and getting re-elected next year. They’ve had plenty of time, and they could certainly extend their deadlines if they wanted to. But no, they’d rather ram through a thoroughly butchered piece of legislation while most of the nation is either distracted by the holidays or literally asleep. But what do they care. Most of them will be out of office before the results of their folly take effect.
A pox on all of them, I say. And a pox on their stinking bill.
This just reported by CNN:
Nelson’s buy off — Nebraska will get federal aid indefinitely to pay for expanded Medicaid coverage in the bill. The rest of the states will get aid for only a few years. After that, they will be, in effect, underwriting Nebraska’s free ride.
The abortion concession — states will be able to opt out of abortion coverage. There goes women’s coverage in several states, presumably Nebraska and for sure my very conservative home state, Oklahoma.