I was reading about the amendments made to the proposed bailout bill on CNN's website yesterday and I noticed there was a "mental health provision" added:
The revised bailout bill also includes a "Mental Health Parity" provision, which would require health insurance companies to cover mental illness at parity with physical illness.
This is from http://money.cnn.com/...
Later I learned from the DailyKos that in fact there were quite a few other riders attached to the bill.
It occurs to me that there are two things the Democrats can do with the bill now, assuming they believe some morphed version of the original bill needs to pass:
- they can make it more palatable to republicans and try to get twelve more republican votes, or
- they can make it more palatable to the rest of the democrats and try to get enough democratic votes.
The riders they added seem to be riders for democratic causes, which makes me believe they are aiming for attack 2 rather than attack one. I must say, I am really happy about that! I was worried.
However, if they are opting for attack 2, why not go all the way and make the bailout proposal halfway decent? That is, add more significant limits to CEO pay, golden parachutes, much more oversight, much more market transparency, making certain it is not just a give away to whomever Paulson finds pleasing at the moment (which I can guarantee will never be me), etc, etc, etc.
If it is an emergency, and I've read many times over that it is, the idea of riders is repugnant. Fix the emergency and fix it in a reasonable way. Wait until Obama is president and then work on the other bills we want to pass; make those bills simple and to the point, and let the democratic majority (oh please, oh please, oh please) with a democratic president make reasonable progress that I as a voter can follow and appreciate.
I know many of you will see me as naive and maybe this could be construed as purposely ignoring reality, but I don't think this sort of shit is beneficial in the long run. In the short term maybe, but in the long run it only increases cynicism and that increases apathy and then assholes end up voting in people like Bush because no one tells the truth and he speaks to their biases better.
But, perhaps I'm wrong and they aren't thinking of these as riders at all. Perhaps the congress people who proposed these changes see them all as perfectly relevant. I can hear the backroom conversation now about the Mental Health Parity provision now:
Congress Person 1: This bill is driving people crazy. They are really stark raving mad about it.
Congress Person 2: That is a very good point. Perhaps we should add a clause in the bill to deal with that? We'll add a mental health clause.
Congress Person 1: I didn't mean that kind of "mad".
Congress Person 3: I agree with CP 2! The people deserve to be cured of their madness! We'll add a mental health addendum to the bill.
Congress Person 1: No, they are angry because they think the people who caused this and have made considerable profit off of it are now getting bailed out with no loss to their profit, yet those of them who are left trying to live in a bad economy get nothing and will end up paying for it eventually either in services or taxes (or their grandkids will).
Congress Person 4: Of course, a Mental Health Parity act! I mean, just like all the good mad people out there, we're all just sick about the economy. This bailout is meant to help those who care about the health care reform and .. well, it's all about job growth! We need to save the dolphins and this is just making people mad, I say, MAD! It is done!
Congress Person 5: It has my vote! We must cure the madness before Putin rears his Russian head through our hospitals!
Congress Person 2: So we add a provision for Mental Health Parity because it is much more relevant than CEO pay equity! Those in favor, poke your eye!
CP's 2, 3, 4, and 5: Eye! Ouch!
Congress Person 1: I abstain (and that is better than a good contraceptive).
Well, maybe that is not quite how it happened.