The legislation on health insurance reform should be something that we all can read and understand. It should be concise and understandable by those folks who are most clearly impacted by it; that means most of us. To have real insurance reform can be simply put: we all must have it, exclusions or rates based on pre-existing conditions, gender, or age will no longer be allowed, and because we are a responsible society there will be programs to make sure that persons of modest means can buy into a plan. With that said, that leaves 49+ pages for more details.
Friday, February 12, 2010
The Need for Plain English and Page Limits
Since we are hitting the reset button on health insurance reform, Congress should also commit to voting out a bill of reasonable length and in straight forward language. After all the U.S. Constitution is an eloquent 4,400 words. Surely Congress can commit to writing a health insurance reform bill that is of a length and language that would allow all Americans to understand the bill. The new process should be that at the outset all legislation had to be written in plain English and with a page limit for the document. A maximum length of 50 pages would be read by most. I have been informed by those whom I trust that laws are necessarily long because they have to cite all the other laws that are being changed. My response to that necessity is to add those as footnotes. Having a long document means that it is only read by a limited set of people (i.e. lobbyists). Of greater concern is that the longer the document the more it becomes burdened by special inclusions and carve outs.