Here I am, at the end of an era. Yes my friends, I have completed reading the dreaded 1018 page House healthcare bill. In truth, I finished a little while back but I’ve been trying to figure what the heck to say about it all. The healthcare reform debate manages to remain full of fire and vigor, while I, as if stuck in a perverse version of Dorian Gray, get older and more tired by the day.
I accepted Mr. Colbert’s challenge and did a thing that many notable politicians and pundits did not bother doing, read the entire 1018 page House healthcare bill. What did I learn?
I was out of my depth on day one. The bill was long, it referenced other pieces of legislation that I didn’t have access to, and it required some understanding of how Medicare works. I learned that it was most definitely not a socialist plot to take over our federal government. In truth, I’ve seen stronger acts of socialism from gamer groups placing delivery orders. It also didn’t strike me as being overtly “bad”. To this totally untrained eye, it looked like a bunch of bureaucrats attempting to do the right thing while ruffling as few of feathers as possible. I’m sure buried within its depths are loopholes that would make my eyes bleed if I understood them, or things so awesome that I’d kick myself forever for failing to catch them and mention them here, but alas, if they’re there, they didn’t register.
However, the most important thing I learned is that there is no good excuse not to try. Yes, this was a foolhardy idea from the start. Read an outrageously long piece of legislation that wasn’t even a bill that was going to be voted on. Why bother? Because it’s my right as a United States citizen to hold my elected officials responsible for their actions. I can only do that by educating myself on issues that I care about. You think I know the inner workings of the Zimbabwean government for fun? No, it is so I can write informed and compelling letters to my elected officials about my concerns regarding the country….so they can be ignored. What was my point again?
Oh yes, that the important thing is to try.