Opinion: Louisville woman asks why legislation is so lengthy, complex?
To the Editor:
Too often, our congressional representatives are voting on bills hundreds, if not thousands of pages long. The Affordable Health Care Act was approximately 2,700 pages long; the regulations approximately 11,000 pages. H.R.1, For the People Act, currently before Congress, is 791 pages long.Who is actually writing legislation? Is it our representatives, their staff, industry executives or is it lobbyists? Is the legislation meant to help constituents, a political party, a politician or some entity with a financial investment in its passage? Every piece of legislation should include a list of anyone who contributed to its content along with their affiliations.
Why are so many bills so complex? The language of most proposed legislation is confusing and difficult to follow. Generally, proposed legislation includes references to other laws or regulations that the average citizen does not have easy access to. Is it possible that politicians intentionally use complexity to limit scrutiny?
Do you remember hearing, “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.” or, “If you like your current health care insurance you can keep it.”, or Nancy Pelosi saying of the Affordable Care Act, in 2010: "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”? Is it possible that the true intent of creating a 2,700-page bill with thousands of pages of regulations was to obscure the true effect of the bill?
How many of our elected congressional representatives do you think have personally read the entire 791 pages of H.R.1 For the People Act? My guess would be less than a handful, if that many. This bill is full of pages and pages of references to numbered parts, lettered sections and subsections. It is a bill written for party politicians, not the people they represent.
A number of polls indicate that only 1 in 5 Americans trust our government. Perhaps that number could be improved if all state and federal legislation were limited to 100 pages or less, presented in plain language using words with common and everyday meanings, include a list of anyone who contributed to content along with their affiliations, and explain any financial obligations associated with the legislation and how it will be paid for.