I have talked a lot on this blog in recent months about how difficult it is to figure out sometimes what exactly is in a major piece of legislation. That would ceratinly apply to the changes unveiled by Democrats to their health bill on Saturday.
That chunk of legislative text was 383 pages. Or so we were told. But when you got to one section, it suddenly got a lot bigger.
Instead of adding in S. 1790, a bill dealing with Indian Health to the text of the amendment rolled out at 7:25 am on Saturday, Democrats just referred to the Indian Health bill.
“Except as provided in subsection (b), S. 1790 entitled ”A bill to amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to revise and extend that Act, and for other purposes.”, as reported by the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate in December 2009, is enacted into law,” says the language on page 144.
In other words, the bill is going to become part of the final text, but you won’t read the details right here.
These kind of bill references have become more and more common in recent years in the Congress, making it even more difficult to ascertain what’s in major legislation, because you have to refer to so many outside sources to figure out what is being changed.
So, while Democrats said the extra legislative text unveiled this weekend was 383 pages, it was really more like over 650 extra pages, making this bill over 2700 pages long.
One more thing along those lines – you won’t be able to find a copy of the entire health care bill that is being considered in the Senate, until after the Senate votes on final passage later this week, because the amendments won’t be officially added in until later.
Maybe someone will develop the final version before Christmas Eve. It would be nice to have that available for people to look at, rather than a hodge podge of documents from Democrats in the Senate.