Good news: Baucus’s ObamaCare bill clocks in at a cool 1,502 pages

posted at 8:31 pm on October 19, 2009 by Allahpundit

At a steady clip of two minutes per page, working a full eight-hour day, you’d be through it in just under a week.

Seems like a good time to start a pool on how long the final bill will be after amendments, mergers with other drafts, etc. Pencil me in for 1,830 pages. Do I hear 2,000?

The Senate Finance Committee filed its sweeping health care reform bill Monday and its release served largely to highlight the divisions among Democrats over the direction of reform.

The massive, 1,500 page bill is expected to serve as the backbone for Democratic reform efforts going forward and five senators expressed concerns about one of its main provisions, a 40 percent tax on high-end insurance plans…

It’s important to remember that the bill won’t exist in this form for long. Senate Majority Leader Reid and Sens. Max Baucus and Chris Dodd along with senior White House aides are merging the Finance and Health Committee legislation into one bill that will be considered on the floor of the Senate. The behind-closed-doors dealings have drawn criticism from Republicans, particularly because President Obama had promised a transparent process and pledged to negotiate the health care bill on C-SPAN.

Serious question: Assuming that passage of some bill is a fait accompli, which it probably is, why would a short bill be better? They’re remaking one-sixth of the economy with legislation that touches on various areas of law. Even a “short” bill’s bound to run into the hundreds of pages, which might — might — entice more senators to read it but at the price of leaving statutory gaps that’ll eventually be filled in by federal courts. Would you rather have unelected judges writing the law or Congress? Any major economic legislation, be it a revision of the tax code or overhaul of social security, is probably going to mean a huge bill even if the final product results in smaller or more efficient government. It’s a necessary evil of trying to govern a country of 300 million people with a fantastically complex economy. Frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t end up being 5,000 pages.

Here it is in browser-friendly format in case you’ve got a week to spare.

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Folks, here is a link to the entire Social Security Act of 1935.

If I were to print this out, it would be a whopping total of 39 pages.

Greyledge Gal on October 20, 2009 at 7:42 AM

Pencil me in for 1984 pages when all is said and done.

proudteadrinker on October 20, 2009 at 8:37 AM

Pencil me in for 1,830 pages. Do I hear 2,000?

I bid 1929.

MarkTheGreat on October 20, 2009 at 8:40 AM

And, where are the public hearings? I mean, we had hearings on steroid use in baseball. Isn’t this as important?

Nozzle on October 20, 2009 at 9:29 AM

You didn’t read the fine print on page 1503:

“It is hereby agreed and understood that the first 1502 pages of this Bill are declared null and void and that, in fact, the only bona-fide recipients od medical care and medcines (to be paid for by enormous middle class tax cuts) are:

1 US senators and Congressmen and their families and friends.
2 President Barack Hussein (Mmm Mmm Mmm) Obama, his immediate family and all White House staffers their families and friends and, I guess, the Vice President.
3 All Illegal Aliens
4 All individuals displaying a progressive’ (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)world view.
5 All babies scheduled for abortions.
6 All terrorist prisoners of war.
7 All foreign dictators who need treatment by US specialists.
8 All SEIU and ACORN employees and their families.
9 The entire City of Chicago.


MaiDee on October 20, 2009 at 10:13 AM

Are you sure we cannot stop this? I wish the Republicans were more forceful. If the dems were the minority, they would never allow the nuke option, wait, that did actually happen. Where are you wimp rinos? No wonder people don\’t want them either. I have not sent the GOP any $ since the time Bush betrayed us with amnesty and I don\’t plan to send them $ until I see substantial results and a fight.

immigrantchick on October 20, 2009 at 10:18 AM

I’ll take 1,666 pages with the emphasis on 666

Amendment X on October 20, 2009 at 10:58 AM

Have this plan apply to Congress and all Federal employees and it will be as dead as Sadaam Hussein…

Nozzle on October 20, 2009 at 1:46 PM

Well, let’s see. If this is at 1,502 pages and HR3200 clocks in at 1,017 pages, then it seems clear the the compromise to come out of conference committee will be…

3,146 pages.

I cite, by way of example, the alleged Stimulus Package, wherein the House Plan had 13.1 billion for Rail/Transit, and the Senate Version had 11.5 billion for Rail/Transit, so they compromised in the conference version, and allocated 17.7 billion to it.

VekTor on October 20, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Would you rather have unelected judges writing the law or Congress?

That’s like asking whether you’d rather be pummelled senseless with brickbats or receive electric shock enhanced interrogation techniques applied to you.

I prefer one of Heinlein’s solutions. Require 2/3rds majority to pass any law, but allow any law to be repealed with 1/3 of total votes. The idea is that if you can’t get 2/3rds to agree it’s a good idea, it probably shouldn’t be a law, and if at some later time can’t muster that same level of support, it should stop being a law.

VekTor on October 20, 2009 at 2:04 PM

From what I can understand from reading the bill (I am an attorney, and this thing is pretty much unintelligible to me. Maybe I’m a lousy attorney), this thing contains something worse than the “public option”. It appears that the legislation creates 4 levels of coverage: bronse, silver, gold and platinum. Each of these levels mandates certain coverage at different “actuarial rates.” The only place you can get these coverages is from the “excahnge”. Insurance companies must offer coverages only through the exchange. They cannot offer their own coverage packages and alternatives. What will be happening is the insurance companies will essentially become brokers for the government plan. However, there is no need to go through the insurance company. Employers can simply participate directly through the exchange. I cannot conceive of any reason why a company would stay in business for something that the consumer can simply by-pass and skip the middleman. This appears to me to be even worse than the so-called public option. Under the Bauchus bill, there is no coverage option outside the exchange option, and if you go through a private insurer you will simply be getting one of the exchange options offered by the government. In other words, even if an insurance company were crazy enough to compete against the federal government, the only thing they can sell is the governments mandated plan that must be purchased through the exchange. Under this scenario, inusrance companies will not wither on the vine, they will be pulled up by the roots!

There is a provision for grandfathering existing health plans, but after those limited policies expire, the insurance company can no longer seek similar consumers and will be pushed into the exchange if they want more customers. I doubt any rational business plan would allow an insurance company to stay in business under this scenario. They cannot book any new business, and they will see their risk pool shrink day by day. That pool cannot be sustained for long, and the insurer will simply go out of business. Of course, once they go out of business the consumer will only be allowed to get coverage through the exchange either directly (most likely) or indirectly through a private insurer (very unlikely or impossible).

The abortion provisions are a trojan horse. While the bill claims not to pay for abortions, it allows the insured to opt-in to a plan that pays for abortions. There will be two pools of covered persons — those who choose the abortion plan and those who do not. Well, there will only be one insurer through the exchange, and therefore only one risk pool. Those who do not opt-in will of course be paying for those who do.

Over the weekend, Obama railed against the monopolistic characteristics of the health insurance industry. The exchange is the ultimate monopoly. There is no other way in and no other way out. Play their game or don’t play at all.

This thing is a poison pill for America.

(Sorry — no time to edit. I apologize in advance for any mistakes)

ObjectionSustained on October 20, 2009 at 2:38 PM