Obamacare’s extreme length makes it ripe for repeal

Written by: Sean O'Connor

The government trend of drafting several-thousand-page legislation eliminates people from the political process and makes government less transparent. The Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) was signed on March 23, 2010 and is a 906 page law accompanied by 10,535 pages of regulations. The Federal Tax Code is 73,654 pages according to CCH Standard Federal Tax Reporter. The Federal budget weighed in at 1,524 pages.

As Christopher Beam said in his August 2009 article “Paper Weight” for slate.com, “major spending bills frequently run more than 1,000 pages.” The fact that this is a routine length for a document that only covers federal spending for one year is staggering.

Then there’s Obamacare; a law that controls the future of our health insurance, healthcare, the federal funding thereof. Its unwieldy length alone is reason enough to repeal the law because there’s no way legislators could read the whole thing before voting on it.

Decision makers in Washington should be informed before they cast votes impacting 300 million people.

Most people don’t have the time to read 11,441 pages of law and regulations. If you are a part time college student, and you partake in any extracurricular activities, and work a job to pay your bills, and you want some kind of social life, some kind of love life, an awareness of what’s happening in the news, you’d like to catch a movie or a TV show every now and then, and you’d like just a little “me time,” it can be enough of a struggle.

A 2012 Department of Labor survey found that Americans spend on average 20 minutes a day reading. That’s not a lot of time, especially when considering the fact that if we are to be well informed citizens, there’s more to read than just Obamacare and other laws.

If Americans only read 20 minutes a day and you have thousands of pages of laws to read, Americans are not going to be well-informed citizens.

Since the government collects information on our time use, our elected officials ought to take that information into account as they go about “representing” us, which they certainly did not do when they chose to impose on us 11,441 pages of law and regulations concerning the quality of our healthcare.

Healthcare is an admittedly complex institution, but issues of such importance ought to be analyzed, debated, and subject to some form of public disclosure before massive heaps of foundational laws are penned with seeming impunity.

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay examined elements of the proposed Constitution in a series of essays they published in newspapers for the people. It gave the American people an opportunity to fully examine what the Constitution consisted of, and the arguments for, and against each legal aspect of it.

In contrast, as Obamacare continues to be implemented throughout the next few years, we’ll be subjected to aspects of it that we may not be aware of, or understand.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Americans spend on average, 17 minutes a day thinking and relaxing. Again, if our elected officials are going to tax us to fund these surveys to collect this data, they better look at it. When considering all of the information we the people are bombarded with, any elected official who does look at this information and believes that 17 minutes of thinking each day is enough, should be voted out of office.

“News and the Overloaded Consumer: Factors Influencing Information Overload Among News Consumers,” a report by Houlton and Chyi offers insight into how overloaded with information Americans are.

72.8 percent of 767 adults surveyed felt at least somewhat overloaded with the amount of news available today, the report says. “People are reporting negative psychological and physiological responses…ranging from increased levels of stress when working through email boxes, to anxiety about keeping up with multiple social network sites.”

These findings suggest there are those among us that find their 17 minutes of thinking and relaxing insufficient time to read and scrupulously analyze 11,441 pages of healthcare laws and regulations. If keeping up with social media is overwhelming, keeping up with dense government legislation could seem impossible!

Those who do try to read it are faced with legal jargon that reads like a foreign language. Time spent thinking about what you just read could easily result in unanswered questions rather than understanding the laws.

The government needs to spend a lot more of their time on transparency and a lot less time drafting new massive laws that they themselves are not even legally required to read, but can vote on.

If Senator Rand Paul’s bill, the “Read The Bill Act” is passed, congress might think twice about drafting 1000 page bills. At the very least it would slow them down.

Congress should not only pass the “Read The Bill Act”. They should also observe how baffled many of their constituents are with Obamacare. The law has been around now for 4 years and still many Americans do not understand it.

The PEW Research Center in partnership with USA Today published a survey of 1056 adults in September 2013 that said 75 percent of those surveyed did not have a “very good understanding” of how the law will affect them. 56 percent of people surveyed under 30 years old didn’t even know the law requires uninsured people to get insurance.

According to a poll conducted by The Washington Post that same month, 62 percent of the 1064 polled adults said they do not have the information they need “to understand what changes will occur as the new healthcare law takes effect”.

How dare our elected officials impose on us, laws we cannot be expected to fully understand or be aware of, especially with our healthcare at stake.

It is true that repealing Obamacare will not solve all the healthcare problems we face. However, it will free us from being subjected to regulations we haven’t had the chance to process, and may never get the time to process.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act would be a step in the direction towards more transparent government and a movement that promotes and makes more possible a culture of well informed American citizens.

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