Reading the Bill: In Action

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The health care debate is raging on, and a big part of it includes having versions of the bill available so people can Read the Bill.   The great thing about having the bill online for everyone to see is that citizens will start looking for the  substantive details of the legislation themselves and add value to the debate.

Citizens of Montana, the home state of Sen. Max Baucus, have been busy reading their senator’s proposed bill.  Left in the West has been looking into the bill and comparing what people are saying about what the bill contains.

Frankly, the more I look at this thing, the more it’s obvious we need both a public option and to open the health insurance exchange to everyone. If you want a better analysis of this bill, got to Jay Rockefeller, who says this is what’s wrong with the bill:

– CHIP is put into the exchange.

– No public option.

– Already existing policies from big companies not affected by new regulations. You read that right! Almost half of the nation’s consumers will have no protection from pre-existing condition clauses or lifetime caps!

– Affordability.

See, that’s the thing. If you have crappy, employer-provided insurance, you have to keep it. As Baucus’ bill is written now, you can’t ditch it for something better in the exchange. That’s unacceptable.

Anyway. Still reading this thing.

Also in Utah, The Side Track has taken up the task of answering state Sen. Chris Buttars’ questions about the health care bill by actually reading the bill.  See their answers here, here, here, and here.

For those of you who missed it, Sen. Chris Buttars has questions. …

I’ll be honest, I thought we were taking on quite a challenge. 1,000 plus pages really isn’t that large for a piece of legislation (Bush’s final budget was over 1,300 pages long… and speaking of which, did Buttars print that one out on the tax payer’s dime too?), but it is a challenge for several bloggers with many other obligations. We assumed.

We assumed wrong. In fact, it’s been embarrassingly easy, and a bit of a bore, as research challenges go.

No matter where you stand, the debate is always better when you take actual details from the bill, instead of hearsay.  This is why every bill should be available for 72 hours. Call your congressman today and ask them to sign the discharge petition for H. Res 554.

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