Weekly Comments: Tips for writing health care bill
#568 Sept. 13, 2009
COLUMBUS: This was a big weekend for football. And it seemed that anybody not watching football was in Washington Saturday for the 9-12 gathering. In some of the football stadiums where the home team got beat, the chant at the end of the game was the same as it was in Washington: Throw the Bums Out!
The main problem with this health care reform bill is that there are a half dozen versions and they’re all written by lawyers. (See Historic quotes.) Each one is a thousand pages, so naturally you can find something on page 523, say, of one bill that contradicts page 879 of another one.
Only way to clear this thing up is to condense it down to about 20 pages that spells it out straight. Does this new government insurance cover American citizens? (Yes or no). Does it cover people who are here illegally? Does it cover the birth of a baby? Abortions?
If insurance is offered to everyone, will they charge the same for a healthy 30-year old as for an overweight 60-year old smoker? (Before answering, think of charges for auto insurance based on driver age and vehicle value.)
Once they get it down in simple English you won’t need any politician to stand up and explain it and risk being called a liar. He can just hand it to you and say read it yourself.
Now when it comes to cost, if they claim it won’t cost you anything, why that’s like your dentist saying, “This won’t hurt much.” And if they say it will be paid for by eliminating waste and fraud, just ask how much waste and fraud they eliminated last year. No matter how many scoundrels they eliminate, there’s always another batch ready to pounce on easy money.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“The minute you read something and you can't understand it you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer. Then if you give it to another lawyer to read and he don't know just what it means, why then you can be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer. If it's in a few words and is plain and understandable only one way, it was written by a non-lawyer.
Every time a lawyer writes something, he is not writing for posterity, he is writing so that endless others of his craft can make a living out of trying to figure out what he said, course perhaps he hadent really said anything, that's what makes it hard to explain.” WA #657, July 28, 1935
“Today, Saturday, minds are not on politics, they are not on national affairs, they are on football. Did you know that football is becoming about as big a nuisance as politics? Millions of football fans are going to football games this afternoon. Mind you, I think it's a great thing.” DT #726, Nov. 23, 1928