Senate Cloaks Obamacare

You can’t read the bill because they refuse to put it in writing.  And you’d better not oppose it because the government will try to muzzle you.

President Obama has consistently refused to put his details into legislative language, and now the U.S. Senate is doing the same thing.

Rather than respecting public demands for transparency, they’re figuratively spitting in the public’s face.

The “Baucus bill” is being rushed through the Senate based on an outline provided by Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).  The 564 amendments being considered are no better.

It’s like a jumbled pile of notes stuffed into a suggestion box.  Only after Senators are asked to approve the bill in committee — this week — would congressional staff be asked to write it all out in full — expected to be at least 1,500 pages.  (The outline is 200 pages.)

What’s the rush?  Liberal supporters of health care reform saw the negative public reaction when the House bill was posted on the Internet just before Congress’ summer recess.  Now they want to hide the gory details until just before a Senate vote is called on the new version.

Remember the town hall in Philadelphia with Sen. Arlen Specter (D, PA) and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius?  She told angry citizens, “The Senate bill isn’t written so don’t boo the senator for not reading a bill that isn’t written.”  So why are she, President Obama, Sen. Specter, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) supporting phantom legislation?

It’s bad enough not to read a bill first.  It’s far worse not to put it in writing so everyone has a chance to read it.  We should not do an extreme makeover of one-sixth of America’s economy based on fuzzy thoughts not put into writing and examined in detail, with plenty of time to do so.

Only one Democrat, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D, AR) supported an effort to make the bill written out and publicly available for at least 72 hours before any committee vote.  All Republican Senators on the committee supported that effort.  But it was voted down, 11-12, thanks to votes by:

Sen. Max Baucus (D, WY)
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D, NM)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D, WA)
Sen. Tom Carper (D, DE)
Sen. Kent Conrad (D, ND)
Sen. John Kerry (D, MA)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D, NJ)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D, FL)
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV)
Sen. Charles Schumer (D, NY)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D, MI)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D, OR)

Missing in action is the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) who has not stepped up to support the public’s right to know.  Instead, he’s pushing to rush the bill to the Senate floor next week, furthering undercutting any chance for people even to see the details, much less understand them.

Remember the infamous statement of Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), “What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

Keeping Americans in the dark is not enough for the Obama Administration, however.  ABC reported that the Department of Health and Human Services has sent a letter telling insurance companies to stop ‘misleading’ and ‘confusing’ mailings, saying, quote, “We are instructing you to immediately discontinue all such mailings and remove any related materials from your websites.”

Humana Insurance Company sent a mailing to customers in the Medicare Advantage Program, warning that under the healthcare reform bills, “millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many important benefits and services.’”  

The plan is simple, bold and outrageous:  Keep America in the dark and muzzle those who dare to speak up.  Leftwing lunacy has become leftwing repression.


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