19 Nov 2003 Message to Congress on Medicare: Don’t Rush to Put a Legislative Turkey on America’s Thanksgiving Table
Congress is rushing votes on the just-released Medicare conference report too swiftly and risks taking an action it will later regret, warns The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think-tank.
“The Medicare conference report reconciled, with significant alterations, a House bill (H.R. 1) that was 747 pages in length and a Senate bill (S. 1) 1,043 pages in length. Yet Congress is rushing to get votes in both Chambers before Thanksgiving, giving legislators little time to consider the provisions, and the public even less,” said Edmund F. Haislmaier, a leading Washington health policy expert who serves on The National Center’s board of directors and who frequently testifies before Congress on health care.
“The money to pay for this bill will come from the pockets of the American people,” added Haislmaier. “Shouldn’t they be given enough time to review it so they can share informed views with their elected representatives?”
“The focus on Capitol Hill appears to be ‘get a bill — any bill,'” observes Amy Ridenour, president of The National Center. “Yet the focus should be ‘get a good bill.’ It is better to get a decent bill by Christmas or Easter than a turkey by Thanksgiving.”
Ridenour also asked: “Can any group of people, no matter how clever or well-intentioned, really spend over $400 billion wisely, given less than a week to think about it?”
The National Center is a conservative/free-market think tank established in 1982. Visit http://www.nationalcenter.org/Health.html to download its recent health policy publications, including a new paper, “Medicare: It’s About the Future, Stupid!” by Edmund F. Haislmaier, released November 18.