A different take on health care reform (in Off-topic)

AdminNightStrike March 24 2010 12:13 AM EDT

I'd like to be enlightened, please. So I'm coming to a CB forum thread!


From what I can gather, the health care bill is massive, has far reaching changes, and consequences yet unknown. It's going to have great things for some people, and horrible things for others. It's going to cost money in some places and save money in others. It'll cause thousands to lose their jobs while opening new ones for plenty more. The list of what this thing does and doesn't is as endless as the bill itself.

So please, somebody explain this to me:

Why has no one taken a small piece of it that is widely regarded as beneficial, and enact that as a small bill, sans 578943578457398 pages of droll parliamentary babble? As an example:

I believe there is something in there that says that you can stay on your parents' insurance until you are 26. Well, why not just pull that out as a separate law, and pass it easily? I'm guessing that one small piece of it would have a lot more support than the entire thing. Split the whole thing apart, throw away the barrels of pork, let the controversial pieces go back into debate, and let the useful pieces exist in our current system. Why not?

I know those simple things won't change the face of society, and won't end all the health care issues we face. But surely if they are good enough to be in the bill, then they should be good enough to stand alone, and should have a positive impact, even if slight.

It would at the least let us see small improvements in the immediate short term instead of going nowhere for 2 years, then being promised possible benefits in 20 years.

kevlar March 24 2010 12:15 AM EDT

these forums are going to miss Ranger so much...

AdminNightStrike March 24 2010 12:19 AM EDT

That's got to be a new record for the time between a thread goes up and the time of the first off topic post.......

Demigod March 24 2010 12:22 AM EDT

you can stay on your parents' insurance until you are 26. Well, why not just pull that out as a separate law

Forcing private insurers to maintain non-dependent 25 year olds wouldn't exactly pass easily. Having it as detail of a new government program means fight is really over the new program rather than a separate can of worms.

I can't say how much, if any, of the bill is filler, though, as I've barely read any of it in unabridged form.

kevlar March 24 2010 12:28 AM EDT

You can't split something up that is proposed and make it law. When something is submitted it has to be accepted as a package before any single detail can be put into action. I'm no lawyer so I could be wrong, but with what I have learned following this whole mess, that is what I have gotten. There are so many things noone knows about yet, and when asked to discuss them both Obama and Pelosi both said we would find out what was in it AFTER it was passed. Red flag.

And I don't think I was off topic at all... Ranger has already posted some really good stuff on this topic and brings a lot to the table when discussing topics such as this.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] March 24 2010 12:28 AM EDT

economy of scale off the top of my head.

it does also have to do with the promise of reform during a campaign. delivering the one law regarding parent's insurance and age 26 would likely anger those who voted for said reform.

if you can deliver reform then why not do so? if it is virtually impossible to deliver reform (abortion comes to mind in that both sides are very watchful and vigilant) then attrition can work through single laws passed over time.

AdminNightStrike March 24 2010 12:28 AM EDT

I don't know. It's not adding too many years on the current requirement of 23 or 24. I think that one piece would pass much more easily than the entire bill as a whole.

And frankly, I don't care about that one piece. I picked it because it's small, and it was the first thing that came to mind. But the point is that out of all of these pieces amount up to the whole, surely there are some that would be a lot easier for the masses to swallow.

I am reminded of a recent link in the Links forum regarding NextStep and Apple and how they forced everyone to use it by doing it piecemeal. It's kind of like the frog-in-a-blender boiling frog thing.

hmm... Guess that wasn't on Links here, but in a different project of mine. Google for an article about how Steve Jobs got the world to adopt NeXT.

AdminNightStrike March 24 2010 12:30 AM EDT

it does also have to do with the promise of reform during a campaign. delivering the one law regarding parent's insurance and age 26 would likely anger those who voted for said reform.

That was just a single example. Presumably, in my hypothetical scenario, there would be numerous small laws passed individually.

Demigod March 24 2010 12:35 AM EDT

I think that one piece would pass much more easily than the entire bill as a whole.

I know you don't care about that one item, but it's a fair example. Think of it this way, absolutely no limiting change will be placed against insurance companies without a massive fight via lobbyists. Yes, that item would pass easier than the huge bill, but it would still require a lot of time and a lot of money to get it through (as well as a lot of (pork) concessions. Then the next tidbit would have to be proposed and fought for against lobbyists, taking more time, money, and frustration.

Assuming that the bill could even be broken down into many chunks, it's probably better to fight hard for one piece of complete legislation rather than 50 smaller battles over a much longer timeframe.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] March 24 2010 12:36 AM EDT

definitely economy of scale then. would it take more resources to get 100 single-item bills passed or one 100 item bill passed? i also still think it is relevant to notice which one would be more likely considered as "reform".

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] March 24 2010 12:37 AM EDT

Parliamentary Procedure 101.

AdminNightStrike March 24 2010 3:24 PM EDT

Demi - you don't think there's any piece that could get through without being wrapped up in a nice juicy porkroll?

PoisoN March 24 2010 4:30 PM EDT

As one from a country where health insurance is something normal since over 100 years I'd say the American people will benefit from it definitely.

To your point of the way the US passes their bills, well that's everywhere a funny process.

QBsutekh137 March 24 2010 4:39 PM EDT

The reason many small laws become one big one is because they are not distinct.

Let's say they started with the 26-year-old rule, first. Then, someone (probably from powerful insurance company lobbyists) said, "OK, as long as we also add this." The original folks said, "Fine, but now we want this, too."

This is how things work when a large group of varied people make policy. If everyone had the same definition of "right" and "good", then laws would just be lists of like-minded bullet points. That is not the case, especially when 300 million people are being represented, special interests hold tremendous sway, and corruption, at least to some degree, is a reality.

Demigod March 24 2010 5:12 PM EDT

Demi - you don't think there's any piece that could get through without being wrapped up in a nice juicy porkroll?

I'm sure some small parts could, but they would be small enough to not be worth splitting in the first place (no opposition). To keep using the age limit example, that would never pass as porkbarrel. Lobbyists would catch it. An increased funding change for peanut farmers would work, but not something that "hurts" big business.

Try using a more familiar polazing topic. Gun laws. If a president tried to reform firearm rights by chipping away slowly with piecemeal legislation, he would still run headlong into the NRA at every little turn, who would fight with millions of dollars in not only the political and legal arenas for every bit of legislature, but also in the public arena. It would be PR hell, and the total cost/timeframe/pr-hit would be far more costly than a single push.

Sometimes a war is better than countless battles.

Cube March 24 2010 11:12 PM EDT

Some of the items passed are dependent on each other. For example, requiring everyone to have insurance. That can only be enacted if limits are put on the insurance companies.

The idea of passing stuff line by line is decent in theory, but it kind of prevents having a unified plan with interdependent parts.

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] March 24 2010 11:17 PM EDT

I was just telling someone today that the iPhone they were using is basically a shrunken NeXTStation. I can't find that article at first glance... if I come up with it I'll post it in Links.

On topic, I think you've got a group of people really good at writing big powerful complicated law who love what they do for a living wouldn't consider simple better. Look at the patriot act, or the DMCA... both book thick complicated and very powerful.

Godpanda March 24 2010 11:42 PM EDT

Yes, but the law isn't written for the writers. Indeed, in my mind, the entire issue with how the law is made is the inability for human beings to be objective.

And in government.... Well, hell, the goal is to be as subjective as possible!

The law is made so complex because everyone wants their's. In a situation like the Healthcare reform bill, everyone is affected. So everyone wants their say. And people are selfish. Which goes both ways! (The rich are selfish for not wanting to pay higher premiums and the poor are selfish for wanting something for free. Not saying either is good.)

So you're sitting on something like this and trying to get it passed. But you have to convince people. So you make a compromise. And, here, there are two possible ways to give people what they want. Take away something, or add something. If you just take away, you're left... With nothing. Or something so mild it's worthless.

So you add to get it passed.

And it's just how it is. You can't really pass a law stopping congress from doing it... Because the only way to do it would be to pass a law to change the system... Using the current system. And what POSSIBLE motivation would people -thriving- in the system have for changing it? Another one of the huge problems with allowing congressman to stay in office without harsh term limits. They'll inevitably act in self-interest instead of the interest of the people.

Meh. I hate congress. Or, more likely, I just hate this incarnation of our government. It could be so much better.... If wishes were fishes :O

AdminTitan March 24 2010 11:45 PM EDT

Simply what GW is saying, you've got to buy votes some how.

kevlar March 25 2010 5:49 AM EDT


some of the states listed are very 'blue'

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] March 25 2010 7:06 AM EDT

Wrong thread, Kev.

WickedlySane March 25 2010 9:14 AM EDT

I just hope they get this health care bs done and over with.

1. im sick of hearing about it.
2. I think we need to work on getting people back to WORK! All the health care reform in the world doesn't matter if I don't have a job to pay for it :(

AdminNightStrike March 25 2010 1:23 PM EDT

WickedlySane - read Bast's post. It applies to you, as well.

This is a surprisingly on-topic thread, despite the first reply and the topic at hand. I'd like to keep it that way.

To respond in general, it looks like the overall idea is that a small bill wouldn't make it through because basically, in the world of Congress, you can't get "tit" without "tat". Is that the general consensus?

Demigod March 25 2010 1:28 PM EDT

That's a big part of it.

Godpanda March 25 2010 1:30 PM EDT

Basically. But, you do have to remember that a bill of this nature, even minus the extra stuff, is still a giant affair.

You're not just writing, "Everyone in the US gets free Health care. Woo!". You're writing out how it'll work, how it'll interact with other government plans, how it'll work private, how it will affect corporations and such. You can't make these things separate, because what if 10 of them passed, but one didn't? They could all fall apart.

Even taking away the whole lobbying thing, removing corruption and the influence of corporations, it's just giant. And complicated. Because the laws and aspects of the nations it interacts with are complicated and huge.

AdminNightStrike March 25 2010 1:38 PM EDT

I guess I was coming from the standpoint of enacting reform by small steps with immediate results spread out over a long period of time.

Bolfen March 25 2010 2:46 PM EDT

One reason it's hard to have a "good stuff everyone agrees on" bill is that then you'll NEVER pass the "hard stuff that everyone differs on" bill.

Think of this example:
Bill 1: Free puppies for everyone! (everyone can agree on that!)
Bill 2: Tax people to pay for puppies (boooooooooo!)

QBRanger March 25 2010 4:02 PM EDT

Bolfen is right.

One can pass the popular stuff like coverage for preexisting conditions easily.

However when one has to pass things like a mandatory tax increase, or an increase to capital gains taxes, it is very unpopular.

But the unpopular things like taking 500B from Medicare and forcing young healthy people to be part of the healthcare machine are essential to try and balance the books. Or at least give the appearance of trying to balance something.

But the Democrats obviously knew this was an unpopular law and tried to ram through as much as they could at one time to try and get this fiasco over with quickly. Hence the huge complicated law.

Also, there are things just now coming out that such a monstrosity of a law overlooked. Intentionally or not. Things such as pre-existing conditions for children got overlooked and will not be enacted till 2014. Other things such as the exemption for senior Congress staff and the Presidential Cabinet/staff were likely intentional.

However, with a 2700+ page law, one can easily slip in pet projects/laws without anyone noticing.

One other point.

Obama was so adamant that we have a crisis right now that has to be fixed right now. Like when he cried wolf about the TARP being needed that very night it passed. How could passing a bunch of smaller bills be consistent with his rhetoric. Even though most of the benefits do not take place for 4 years.

And now we go to immigration reform that has to be done right now because the apolcalyse will happen if we do nothing about that, or the next thing or the next thing on his liberal agdenda.

kevlar March 25 2010 4:14 PM EDT

However, with a 2700+ page law, one can easily slip in pet projects/laws without anyone noticing.

through a 'loophole' called reconciliation. Something that didn't even have full majority from their own party (by what 24-27 votes??).
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