Obamacare: the stealth provisions

What is wrong with the following sentence?  Congress wrote the Kennedy-Dodd health care bill while meeting in Washington on the backs of envelopes.  Hint: there are at least two correct answers.

I have written many posts about the Kennedy-Dodd health care bill.  There is only one problem.  I learned Saturday, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, that what we all thought was the Kennedy-Dodd bill, isn’t the Kennedy-Dodd bill.  It seems that after the bill was released to the public in June, on July 15, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, under the “leadership” of Sen. Dodd (D. Ct.), passed an amended Kennedy-Dodd bill.  It includes nearly 200 amendments to the original bill.

Want to know what is in the amended bill?

Well, so do Republicans.  They wrote to Dodd, over three weeks ago,

to reiterate our request for a full copy of the bill as amended…

So far, Dodd has refused their request, as well as a similar request from The Wall Street Journal.

Consequently, no one but Sen. Dodd knows what is in the final bill passed by that committee…not Republicans, not the press, and, more importantly, not the public.  In spite of that vacuum, I am confident if we don’t like what Sen. Dodd condescended to release to the public, we really won’t like what the good Senator has kept secret.

But, here’s the “best” part of the amendment proceedings.  During what we can only assume must have been a fairly chaotic process, Sen. Mikulski (D. Md.) declared,

Giving me language on little pieces of paper on which I’m going to commit the sacred fortunes and honor of the United States for decades, this is not the way to go. We can’t do this on the backs of envelopes.

A similar charade has also played out in the House.  According to Rep. Brown-Waite (R.Fl.) there are numerous passed amendments to the Waxman bill which also haven’t been made available to the public, or, for that matter, to Congresswoman Brown-Waite.  I wonder why Rep. Murphy (D.Ct.) didn’t reveal that when he was interviewed by Jim on WTIC this past Tuesday.

The most “open, honest, ethical government”, according to Speaker of the House Pelosi, and a “new age of transparency”, according to President Obama…you decide.

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.

1 Comment

  1. Dimsdale on August 31, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Apparently, "going it alone" and "doing it without Republicans" also means not letting regular citizens in on the secret amendments.  On what possible legal basis does Dodd refuse to let anyone see the bill as amended?   I feel safe in the belief that if SOS doesn't know, there isn't one.


    Now why would they put secret provisions into a bill that does not involve national security?  It is exactly as SOS say: they know we won't like what they are sneaking into the bill under the cover of, well, I don't really know.


    Ask yourself: would you sign a contract that you couldn't read beforehand, was rushed through a committee, was written by people that it won't apply to,  is mercilessly complex and long, that can be changed ex post facto?  I sure as heck wouldn't.  Yet that is what they are asking us to do.  Barnum had a word for people that sign onto things like that.


    Maybe if Dodd's constituents (read it: voters) started asking, no, demanding answers to, some pointed questions, we might get an answer.  It is our job to make sure that the voters know that Dodd is committing another fraud.

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