Democrats laid out their new health reform bill on Thursday in the House, as party elders and critics predicted the bill would gain approval by lawmakers as early as next week.
But that’s not to say it will be without controversy.
The first red flag about the new bill is simply the size of it, at 1,990 pages in all. That’s much larger than any of the previous House bills.
“The era of the 1,000 page bill is over,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sarcastically on the Senate floor.
I’m not going to say I read every page, but I flipped through every one of them. It is mind numbing for sure. But I did come up with a few interesting thoughts along the way.
One trouble spot is still likely to be abortion. The language in the bill is exactly the same language that was narrowly approved in the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which over three dozen Democrats say is unacceptable.
Democrats will say the language is clear: “Prohibition of Use of Public Funds For Abortion Coverage,” it says on page 246. But that hasn’t been enough for critics.
If that language is not changed, then there is the chance of a group of House Democrats voting against the bill. Keep tabs on that one.
While nothing seemed to change on abortion, there does seem to be much different language in this House bill to make sure that benefits don’t go to illegal immigrants.
Starting on page 228, there are a series of requirements for “Verification of Requirement of Citizenship or Lawful Presence In The United States.”
Now, I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that this solves the concerns of some lawmakers, but Democrats clearly realized they had to do something to make it look like they weren’t leaving a big loophole for illegals. We’ll see what critics have to say about it.
And there is a cost for all of these Social Security number checks and more, as the bill would spend $30 million to carry out these new verification requirements.
Just sipping your coffee? Then give the bill a look. Hell, you might find something crazy.
And just to remind you, the House might vote next week.