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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:

  1.  they can make it more palatable to republicans and try to get twelve more republican votes, or
  1.  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.

Originally posted to Birchwood on Thu Oct 02, 2008 at 03:52 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's dumb, IMO. (0+ / 0-)

    John McCain is an angry clown and the GOP is his circus.

    by chicago jeff on Thu Oct 02, 2008 at 04:04:31 AM PDT

  •  Um... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, Septima

    Except with all the financial stress, mental health parity will be a good thing.  Plenty of people, even if employed, will need to have an outlet to reduce stress, domestic violence, addictions, etc.

    •  I think.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, Birchwood

      the point here -- is that it feels out of place.

      There is nothing wrong with the mental health parity.  But it seems it could be something achieved separate of the bailout plan.  As with the rest of the riders, it feels like it is there only to bring in votes.

      Don't get me wrong.  I want this bill to pass.  I want riders in there that benefit the people of this country, the point here, though, (at least to my mind) is that mental health parity .. is an aside from the financial fall out we are experiencing.

    •  The Repugs have (0+ / 0-)

      cheaped out on Mental Health care for years:
      now it is only politically expedient: to camoflage the rape of our nation over the last eight by crooked leadership that has REPUBLICAN written all over it.

      Only the stupid will be fooled.

  •  When you mentioned this yesterday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Birchwood

    I had no idea that later in the day we'd see a ton of riders added to the bill.  I know that they've been trying to get mental health parity for years and I support it.  But I think this is why people think Congress is idiotic and corrupt.  Throw in riders about bankruptcy and other financial matters if necessary.  But mental health parity belongs in health insurance bills.  And wooden toys belong in manufacturing bills.  Wool belongs in agricultural bills.  

    Here's some simple advice: Always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs, and members of Parliament. Kermit

    by sobermom on Thu Oct 02, 2008 at 08:15:07 AM PDT

  •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

    I support mental health parities as well, strongly, but I'd really like to see it in a related bill, not in a budget bailout bill.  

    I really think we shouldn't neglect the fact that actions like this do spur a good deal of cynicism and hence apathy about our government.

    I do understand, though, that it isn't tragic if many of these riders end up getting passed.

    Thanks for swinging back to reread.  :-)

    (And for the initial gentle advice.)

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