A Missing Comma: Why They Should Read The Bill

In the beginning of July, someone asked Steny Hoyer if our Representatives would promise to not vote for the health care bill until they had read it.  Hoyer, after laughing off the question, said this:

“If every member pledged to not vote for it if they hadn’t read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes,”

So really, what’s the big deal?  Do Representatives actually have to read these thousand page bills before passing them?  Somebody has read them.  After all, somebody wrote them.  What do all those Representatives have all that staff for if it’s not to read and write their bills for them?

Yes, it does matter.  I was talking to a friend of mine last week who is a health care professional.  This individual asked to remain anonymous, but told me something I would think is beyond belief if  it wasn’t coming from this individual.    I had this person send me the information in their own words:

“The “Balanced Budget Act of 1997” imposed a $1,500 cap on outpatient therapy services per calendar year per Medicare beneficiary. In Nov 2007, the cap was raised to $1810.  There are two caps: one for occupational therapy and another shared by physical therapy and speech therapy.  The reason PT and ST are combined is because in the original bill someone left out a comma.  Instead of writing “occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy” it was written “occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy.”  Without that comma, PT and ST are lumped together under one cap.  This is not a big deal to seniors who have arthritis or similar problems that are unlikely to involve speech therapy.  However, it is a significant problem for those who need multiple and/or extensive out-patient therapy services such as those who have had a stroke or have a chronic, progressive condition such as Parkinson’s Disease.”

By leaving the comma out, the intention of the bill changed.  There is something far more important missing from HR 3200.

Andrea Mitchell of NBC recently spoke about the myths surrounding Obamacare that us simple Americans believe.  Turns out one of the myths we believe is that this bill won’t pay for abortions.  Maybe so many Americans believe that “myth” because not only is verbiage prohibiting abortion funding missing.  In fact, several amendments putting the verbiage in the bill were defeated.

One anti-abortion funding amendment was approved, and then Henry Waxman used a procedural rule to cause a second vote on the same amendment.  It was defeated 30-29.    If Democrats really don’t intend to fund abortion with HR 3200, then why are they trying so hard to keep any amendment that prohibits it out of the bill?   Yes, it does matter.  Our representatives need to read this bill not just for what’s in it, but what’s missing.

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3 Responses to “A Missing Comma: Why They Should Read The Bill”


  1. 1 Ahmnodt Heare August 20, 2009 at 8:59 am

    With 1000 pages of legislation, a missing comma can be the result of being “commatose.”

  2. 2 Hunter Lucas August 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Personally, I don’t really mind if they do plan on funding abortions. It isn’t as if they are requiring everyone to get one. They’re simply saying that the government will cover it if that is your choice. Why shouldn’t it be funded if Roe v. Wade still stands? I don’t understand the problem–I mean, Viagra is covered under most insurance policies isn’t it? Unless we’re trying to say through legislation that anything that leads to more babies is good and anything that leads to fewer babies is bad. That’s the impression I get. Especially when you consider that birth control is often not covered.

    I do agree that if indeed the Dems are trying to leave support for funding abortions in the bill, they should do it openly and not covertly. That’s where politics comes in, I guess.

  3. 3 ikefriday August 21, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Hunter, why should I, as a pro-lifer, be forced by the government to pay for abortion? Would you be ok with taxpayer funded doctor-assisted suicide or euthanasia? It is beyond conscience and they know it, which is why they are going to great lengths to hide it.


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