2,074 pages of detail not a bad thing

When it comes to reform legislation, size really does matter

One of the things that has bugged us for months and months is health care opponents’ preoccupation with the number of pages in the health care bills that have been introduced in the House and Senate. The most recent bill to emerge is the Senate bill unveiled by Harry Reid yesterday and SURPRISE … it’s 2,074 pages.

As Politico points out, the bill “runs more pages than War and Peace, and has nearly five times as many words as the Torah.” Transcript of whiny health care opponents, please:

“While Americans have been clear about their opposition to thousand-page bills for new government programs, it’s now abundantly clear that Democrats haven’t been listening,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

McConnell is undoubtedly railing against ANY bill Democrats might introduce, but he mentions that it’s a “thousand-page” bill. And our question is, “So what?”

Are the kind folks who demand good government (and less government) saying that a bill with such far-reaching implications – a bill that stands to affect virtually every American – would be better if it was simply shorter?

I suppose their argument might be that a shorter bill would mean there are fewer proposed changes to the health care system, and if that’s their point, too bad. The fact of the matter is that the U.S. health care system has been broken for a long, long time – and when proponents of change sat down to craft legislation, they had a lot to fix.

If the health care industry had historically responded to a legislative tweak here and there by implementing significant consumer-friendly improvements all along, we wouldn’t be looking at a tome that rivals the Encyclopedia Britannica. But here we are, decades into the history of health insurance and we’re having to talk about issues like denial based on pre-existing conditions – issues that should have been tackled decades ago.

We think opponents of the legislation should stop carping and look on the bright side: the legislation is extensive and explicit. It’s good news that the bill’s authors are being thorough. And honestly, if the legislation was shorter, wouldn’t opponents be lobbing accusations that Democrats aren’t spelling out everything that’s in the bill? Uh huh.

So enough about the number of pages. We read through the first House bill – and we’ll take a run at this Senate version. It will surely cause eye strain and likely some nodding off.

But we think our pain and suffering will be worth it in the end. After all, health reform has been a long, long time coming.

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