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:
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.