* Forgot to thank Chuck for his link to the LA Times article. Thanks Chuck.
A couple of days ago, my wife asked me what the proposed healthcare bill would do to our medical coverage. The truth is, I don't know. I've heard lots about what it might do. I know that some proposed Medicare legislation will cut the payments for MRIs and "could affect the availability of MRIs and other tests particularly in rural areas." (see here) It's only logical that the same would be true of the proposed overall healthcare legislation.
I also know that the president thinks that sometimes "maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller." He also thinks "that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don't stand to gain from the extra care." (see here) While I actually agree with him on both of these fronts, I'm very sure I don't want the government involved in the decision. I also think that might be why some people pay into insurance in the first place, so they can have expensive life saving treatment when they need it.
But what scares me the most about the locomotive pushing its way through congress, is the need for speed. Why is it that this bill must be pushed through? If the health care bill is important (and it is), it's important to do it right. Instead, many in congress have laughed at the idea of actually reading the bill they will be voting on.
Take for example, Congressman Hoyer from Maryland. He said he's "laughing because ...(he doesn't) know how long this bill is going to be, but it’s going to be a very long bill." (see here). I also heard that the leaders of both houses of congress have said they won't read the bills, but I could not confirm those reports.
The last time a bill was pushed this hard, we ended up with the so-called-stimulus package. That bill wasn't read by most members of congress either. There are several organizations that are suggesting congress should actually know what it's voting for - "Let Freedom Ring is a conservative backed site that is attempting to get our representatives to read the bill before they vote on it. Backed by liberal organizations, ReadTheBill.org is pushing the same thing." (reference here)
I also think that we, you and I regular people, should have a chance to read the bill. We should know what our representatives know (or in this case, what they don't know). We should be able to examine the pros and cons and we should advise them on how we feel, so they can make the hopefully-intelligent decisions we have sent them to make.