Letters to the editor: Health reform hard to comprehend

Health reform hard to comprehend

The Congressional Budget Office has issued its report on the “Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output as of September 2009.”

This document contains 11 pages and analyzes the impact of the economic stimulus. Page two contains the following nugget of information:

• “Economic output and employment in the spring and summer of 2009 were lower than CBO had projected at the beginning of the year. But in CBO’s judgment, that outcome reflects greater-than-projected weakness in the underlying economy rather than lower-than-expected effects of (the stimulus).”

I think CBO is claiming that in spite of the fact that the stimulus did not accomplish what it projected it would accomplish, the stimulus is working very well. It maintains its projections were too high due to some other variable (the underlying economy) that CBO neglected to include when CBO formulated its initial projections.

I could be wrong.

I point this out for several reasons:

1) The Congressional Budget Office is generally considered to be the sane, adult, responsible organization inside the beltway.

2) This is an 11-page report.

3) The Senate is debating a health care bill that contains 2,000 pages.

Go back and read the two sentences in quotation marks five times carefully. How much time do you think it would take to read and comprehend a 2,000 page document that contained language similar to those two sentences?

At five minutes a page it comes to about 167 hours. When you ask your senators if they’ve read the bill and they answer, “Yes,” do you believe them?