As health care reform legislation enters its final stretches of debate, it is utterly imperative that the final version of the bill be online for the public to view for at least 72 hours.
There’s just simply no negotiating this.
When major amendments happen, those too need to be online for 72 hours.
In many ways, we as a country are in uncharted territory as we debate – or “demand” in some cases – making legislation transparent. The rules and procedures that have defined government for centuries haven’t caught up to the technology that finally allows government to actually be open and transparent (…yet).
And as that debate unfolds, we’re going to bump up against things we’ve simply never dealt with before. But in the debate of what’s the right way to bring about transparency, one thing is eminently clear – whatever you think of the bill: the public and legislators alike MUST have at least 72 hours to read the final legislation before it’s debated.
Whether you love the legislation or you hate it or anything in between, 72 hours will allow you, advocacy groups you support, and the media enough time to look at it and make your opinion known to your representatives.
There are details about how exactly this could play out once the final bill is proposed by the House of Representatives out of committee, and when that debate occurs, we’ll enter it with ways to go about ensuring public disclosure. I could launch into hypotheticals about what happens when Democrats do X or Republicans do Y, as DC insiders are prone to do, but I’ll leave that till it actually comes, and right now, focus on the most important and simple message:
The final health care legislation absolutely, inexorably MUST be placed online for 72 hours before final debate.