Bob Franken

Health Care Renovations

Many of us have gone through the misery of home renovation. One lesson that we learn from bitter experience is to never again trust the contractors’ time estimates. The job will ALWAYS take longer than what they promise. And cost more too. One can only hope the house doesn’t collapse in the process.

Which brings us to the chief contractor at Congress’ upper house, the U-S Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid is now predicting that the health care legislation will be done before Christmas.

In fairness, he didn’t specify Christmas of what year. If he meant 2009, one might consider the possibility of an amendment that would require Senators to undergo random drug testing.

Give or take, we’re about six weeks away from Christmas, during which time the Senators have to shop around their competing views of what health care reform should be, or not be, or whether it should even be at all.


For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that these gas bags, who are inflated by parochial interests and campaign contributions, can somehow be convinced to stop abusing the Byzantine Senate rules—the ones that make a good case for anarchy. That still leaves the negotiations with leaders from the other side of the Capitol.

The Representatives already constructed their own version of reform. Any resemblance to what comes out of the Senate, as the saying goes, will be purely coincidental. So there will have to be “Reconciliation”. On just about everything. A Conference Committee will be appointed to appease all the special interests. That’s what we call “Democracy”

Forgive the cliche, but compared to this messy process, the making of sausage is a thing of beauty. Passing legislation ridiculously slow, and so many extraneous ingredients will be mixed in that it might be too tough to swallow, by the time these guys get through butchering the bill.

Lurching back to the contractor metaphor, maybe Senator Reid will prove to be accurate with his prediction that health care reform will be finished by Christmas. Perhaps it will be FINISHED by then. As in failed. As in proof that our national leaders are not really capable of rebuilding a system that is such a heavy weight and so rickety it could ultimately cause our economy to collapse.

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