On May 4, the House of Representatives passed a health care bill 217-213. All yes votes were Republicans with all Democrats voting no along with 20 Republicans.
Any legislation as important as the health care bill should involve a number of steps before voting that were clearly ignored. After the final bill was presented the House should have:
• Allowed time for the Congressional Budget Office to review the legislation to look at costs to the government and to the American people and the overall projected outcomes of the bill.
• Held hearings to get input from those affected by the bill, like doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and average citizens both pro and con concerning the possible ramifications of the bill.
• Allowed time for concerned citizens to learn about the bill and to express their opinions to their representatives.
• Allowed time for the representatives to become really familiar with the legislation.
Even the president could have used more time to become familiar with the legislation. After repeatedly stating that the health care bill would cover pre-existing conditions, he celebrated the passing of a bill that does not guarantee coverage of pre-existing conditions. Why was it all done with little opportunity for review, evaluation and input? Possibly the House leadership was concerned that transparency might move two or more votes and defeat the bill.
Regardless of political persuasion, we should all ask our representatives why it was approved without allowing for input from the American people and hold them accountable for their vote. How will they respond after the CBO lets us all know the tax benefits, the impact on government costs and more importantly the cost to the American people in the expense and availability of reasonable health care for everyone as the president promised?