Makes One’s Head Spin

The hue and cry throughout the land over health care reform usually ends with the same admonition:  read the bill.

Sorry.  Not going to happen.  Much like any other carefully crafted piece of legislation, this vaunted bill carries a ton of bureaucratic legalese that makes as much sense as Ancient Latin.  For example:

(a) Medicare-

(1) IN GENERAL- Section 1861 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x) is amended

(A) in subsection (s)(2)—

(i) by striking `and’ at the end of subparagraph (DD);

(ii) by adding `and’ at the end of subparagraph (EE); and

(iii) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:`(FF) advance care planning consultation (as defined in subsection (hhh)(1));’; and (B) by adding at the end the following new subsection:  h/t Junkfood Science

Yes folks, this how it is written, full of additions, striking, subparagraphs, subsections and enough misdirection and confusion to employ a cadre of lawyers full-time for the next millennium (maybe that’s the point…).  My point being this:  it does no good to read something if it makes no sense.

I know that I’m probably oversimplifying things, but again, a quote:

(hhh)(1) Subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), the term `advance care planning consultation’ means a consultation between the individual and a practitioner described in paragraph (2) regarding advance care planning, if, subject to paragraph (3), the individual involved has not had such a consultation within the last 5 years. Such consultation shall include the following:

`(A) An explanation by the practitioner of advance care planning, including key questions and considerations, important steps, and suggested people to talk to./p>

`(B) An explanation by the practitioner of advance directives, including living wills and durable powers of attorney, and their uses./p>

`(C) An explanation by the practitioner of the role and responsibilities of a health care proxy./p> (JFS again)

Sure, this is a little clearer, unless defined by paragraph 2, subsection 2, which refers to chart 23a for those referred to in subparagraph 2, section 3.  Those in subparagraph 3, section 2a, please use chart 84-4b.

Sorry, got carried away for a second.  The pundits wonder why our representatives don’t read bills (remember, no one really read the Patriot Act either as it was full of the same crap, and there wasn’t “enough time” to do so.)  It’s simple, this is why.  Understanding biochemistry is easier than reading Congressional legislation.  It’s no longer as simple as “I’m Just A Bill” of Schoolhouse Rock fame.  The concept is the same, but the ideas contained therein are a little more complex.

The argument goes that to encompass such a wide swath of American life, it needs to be complex.  But it is the very complexity that makes it unwieldy and administratively top-heavy.  Like the tax code, this too will spawn, or at least encourage the cottage industry of interpretation due to the mostly vague nature of the act itself.  We can’t have our decisions made by committee or by the elite, especially when it comes to our health.  That is something between a doc and his patient.  If the doctor is not the Primary Provider, see Section 21a, paragraph 5, subsection 4.  But I think you get my point.

I have no answer to this problem.  Wish I did.  I don’t think socialized medicine is the answer, nor do I think our current system has any life left in it.  We obviously can’t continue on the same path we’re on.  And yes, there is going to be some pretty bitter pills to swallow in the coming months and years.  But I know one thing:  I don’t want the government running my health care.

And now for some levity:

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