Bad Writing Goes to the Supreme Court: The 2010 Health Care Bill
The Supreme Court is boring. Congress is boring. The legislation process is boring. Health care is boring. The problem with boring stuff is that a lot of times the boring stuff is really important, and the 2010 health care bill that the Supreme Court is ruling on is really, really important… and boring.
It’s sometimes called Obamacare, even though President Obama didn’t write it. Congress wrote it, so in a way the health care bill has around 600 authors. It’s like a movie with more than two screenwriters; you know it’s pretty much going to suck before you have even seen it.
At 2400 pages, the bill was too long to read before Congress voted on it. So naturally Congress voted on it before reading it. That’s like me reviewing a book before I’ve finished reading it (which I’ve… ahem… actually done a few times, but at least I’ve always admitted to it). Nobody has to follow my book review recommendations, but we pretty much have to follow what’s in the law (if it’s deemed constitutional).
And it took about a year to figure out what was in the law. 2010 was filled with arguments about “This is in the bill,” and “No, it’s not in the bill,” and then “Yeah, it’s in the bill, but not in the same words that you originally used.”
It was tough to figure out what was in the health care bill because the language was so boring. It would have been easier to figure out (and more fun to read) if the health care bill had actually used language like “death panels.” I would have eagerly read about “death panels.” Instead, there’s some long boring term for “death panels” that make it sound more patient friendly than “death panels.”
Experts finally figured out that the law requires that everybody purchase health insurance, and if you don’t, there’ll be a penalty. It’s not the death penalty (that would have made the health care bill more interesting), but a monetary penalty. Opponents say the government can’t force people to buy health insurance; obviously, the federal government disagrees.
Thankfully (for the Supreme Court), that’s the only part that the Supreme Court is ruling on. If the Supreme Court were treating this health care bill portion-by-portion like the president with a line item veto, the Supreme Court wouldn’t be hearing another case until Romney’s second term… ugh… I mean, Hillary’s first term… ugh… I mean, Biden’s first…. You know what I mean.
Luckily for legislators, the Supreme Court is not ruling on whether or not bad writing is unconstitutional. Otherwise, Congress might have to get shut down (which could be good), but then Twitter would also have to get shut down, and life would suddenly become less fun.