National Health Care Shell Game

Good golly, Molly, what's the latest on the national health care bill? Which health care bill? Why, I'm not even sure what the health care bill says. How would we? Not only are there a variety of bills being cast about, the contents are not being divulged for examination.

Remember that shell game where you try to watch the illusionist's hands as they quickly change 3 shells from one position to another, all in the blink of an eye, and youre supposed to know which half shell contains the pea? Well, there's a lot more than three shells, contents unknown, being moved about by 100 senators and 435 representatives. These folks, you know, our representatives, count on us not knowing the rules of the game - confusing constituents with committee rules, cloture, and other terminology that cause us to shrug our shoulders.

The Senate is scared to pass a national health care bill right now. Why? They got the message. The majority of Americans don't trust a government to take over their health care when they can't manage Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. If those programs are poorly administered and upside down, why would the government be able to handle a much bigger program that determines which coverage I'm allocated? Granted, there is work to be done, but turning over our health coverage - the best in the world - to a group of politicians who haven't read the bill(s)? I don't think so.

Well, what better way to get things accomplished than to play the proverbial shell game. So, here's whats being floated by some elements of the media: Since bills can be amended, why not try this: Take a bill that already has majority support, or one that is already passed but not signed - say, a bill that taxes executives who receive TARP bailout money. (Yeah, we all hate those slimy executives who are getting TARP bailout money.) So, that's a slam dunk bill, in fact, it's already been voted on, just not signed into law. Okay, so here's the deal; split up a health care bill into sections, and attach these sections to bills that are sure to pass, or have passed - such as the taxing of executives who receive bailouts.

"That's ludicrous!" you cry. "Health care doesn't have anything to do with bailouts of executives using TARP money!" By golly, you're right. They wouldnt do that, would they?

Ethical? Depends on who you ask. I mean, what does "is" mean? Think of it this way. If you really want a health care bill to pass, irrespective of what your constituents say, irrespective of the feedback from the majority of Americans, what better way to accomplish your objective than to vote on a bill that has nothing to do with health care, and vindicate your voting record by saying "I voted for those slimeball executives receiving TARP bailout money to have to pay big taxation. I wasn't voting on health care - it just happened to be an attachment." Could this happen in America? Naaaaah. Right?

When Ben Franklin, upon exiting the Constitutional Convention, was asked what form of government the Framers had decided upon, he quipped, "A republic, if you can keep it." Our government was founded on the assumption of an informed and educated public holding the politicians responsible and accountable. Are we up to the task?