Magazine article USA TODAY

Government Goofs Up Again

Magazine article USA TODAY

Government Goofs Up Again

Article excerpt

THERE ARE A LOT of flaws in the various health care reform proposals. Are they too intrusive, expensive, and complicated? Undoubtedly. Will personal information end up in too many hands? Surely. Is there reason for concern when every aspect of your health history, even marriage counseling, becomes part of a permanent electronic record? Obviously; there are some things you share only with your clergy, therapist, or spouse. All these are valid concerns and complaints, being made by people with access to the various forms of health care legislation being bandied about in Washington. The primary problem, though, is that the health care proposals, like most things coming out of the nation's capital, were written by the wrong people.

As tar as any sensible person can tell, many things about health care could be much more effectively written by mothers. I am not saying this from a feminist perspective. I assert this from a realistic angle: I am a mom. There are things moms know that other people do not. Of course, there are things nonparents, clads, and kids know that other people do not, either, but this is not meant to be a judgment as to who knows best. I merely am asserting that there are problems in the health care proposals and discussions that most mothers would have avoided in the first place. Mothers know, for instance, that you cannot make vague statements and expect that children will do what you hope. You cannot say, "Keep your room neat," and assume the child knows this includes your definition of neat: the drawers, under the bed, dead bug collections, and the closet. No, when you open the closet door and are crushed under an avalanche of Pretty Ponies and Transformers, the last words you hear will be your children's wheedling argument that they did not know you meant to keep the closet neat, too. They thought you just meant the room. Every morn knows you have to be very, very cautious when defining your terms.

Moms know that an unclosed loophole is a gaping loophole. The assertions by elected and unelected officials that the absence of certain language in the health care bill means, of course, it is not included either is specious or thick-headed. A great many court justices have been legal scholars on par with any second-grader, arguing that something must be included because otherwise it would have been deliberately excluded. This is why normal people are bewildered by legal decisions; we are incredulous that well-educated people, sworn to uphold the Constitution, so often either are brazenly malevolent or simple-minded. We all know that something not overtly against the roles will occur and then be defended. Congressmen complain of being harassed, asserting there is nothing in the bill giving health care privileges to illegal immigrants, when we already are paying for their emergency room care. There is no reason to presume this suddenly would cease. Similarly, of course, we will end up paying for abortions, or breast enhancements, or eyelid tucks because droopy eyelids might cause poor self-esteem. It can get worse. Most things entangled in what is euphemistically called case law do.

Mothers know that case law is like giving in to the checkout-line temper tantrum over a candy bar. The exception has been made. It will take a full year of resisting the urge to relent and quiet a tantrum to get the demands to stop, and that is if you are dealing with one child, not an entire Bar Association. …

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