House health bill… It’s really big!
It’s really big.
How big is it?
So big that Republican Congressman David Camp was going to take it with him to read on a flight to his Michigan home but it wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartment, an aide quipped.
What is it? The healthcare reform legislation made public on Thursday by Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The 1,990-page document comes in at more pages than an English translation of Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” which is just shy of 1,500 pages.
The health legislation may or may not be more interesting than the epic story about 19th century Russian society, but it is the center of attention on Capitol Hill at the moment.
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander says he will read it and recommends that everyone else does too. The legislative text of the “Affordable Health Care for America Act” is available on the House Rules Committee website.
“I have an important announcement to make on a subject which I believe will be of interest to the American people: the era of the 1,000-page bill is over,” Alexander said. “We have 2,000-page bill.”
Democrats argue that the weighty legislation will help millions of uninsured Americans, reduce costs and end insurance industry practices that result in loss of coverage and discriminate against people because of medical history, sex and profession.
Republicans argue that a more modest, step-by-step approach to changing the healthcare system is needed and that the cost of the proposed Democratic bill is high.
“A 2,000-page healthcare bill that costs a trillion dollars means that every page costs the American people a half-billion dollars,” says Don Steward, spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
Photo credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveils House Democrats’ healthcare bill)