Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Chair of the House Rules Committee, has announced that the Committee is expecting to convene this Friday regarding the Health Care bill. This is the next step necessary in preparing the bill for the floor of the House of Representatives. Accordingly, the earliest that the House could vote would be on Saturday. But the transparency policy requires a 72 hour period after the bill is put up on the Committee’s website before they vote on it. No matter how one counts it, the House could be voting very soon.
What does this mean? It means that it appears the Democrats are going to proceed. They are going to employ reconciliation, a legitimate tool of state, it would seem. Yet at this late hour, the American people still haven’t a clue what’s actually in the bill. We have been told that it’s not going to include Special Deals, but the claim hardly seems credible.
Perhaps more important is what it will not include. Tort Reform is still nowhere near the menu. A reasonable person might reasonably ask why it is not in there. Why was it possible to even consider the Special Deals, but not Tort Reform? How come the entire subject of Defensive Medicine is not being addressed? The pink elephant in the living room isn’t going to go away, and the word “Reform” cannot be justified while it remains absent from whatever it is that our Congress is putting forth.
Reform: to reclaim, rectify, regenerate, see the light, straighten out. The origins of the word go back to the 12th century use of the Latin term “reformare”. It means to bring away from an evil course. How, then, is this Reform? The only thing that is being reformed by this bill is the eventual requirement that people not be excluded from obtaining health insurance due to pre-existing conditions. But what keeps the insurance companies from charging ridiculously high premiums that are, in and of themselves, prohibitive and exclusionary?
We will be watching closely for the text of the bill, and signs of reformation of the reformation bill itself. Otherwise, the past year has been spent robbing Peter to pay Paul, with no heathcare reform in the bill at all.