Thursday, March 4, 2010

Health Care and Reconciliation

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Matthew 23:27-28

Until quite recently, I thought that “COBRA” was an acronym somehow related to the insurance that families could buy when they were cut off from a health insurance program through their employers. When Carolyn graduated from Smith and was no longer eligible to be on our insurance policy, we were able to make “Cobra payments” to maintain her insurance.

COBRA actually stands for “Congressional Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.” It just happened that the original law regulating that health insurance issue was passed as part of a budget reconciliation act and it became known as "Cobra."

Now, as Congress considers passing health insurance reform by “reconciliation,” Republicans are shocked (shocked!) and outraged that “reconciliation” should be used in this way. The fact is that it has been used this way many times in the past, and often by Republicans.

But there is more than enough hypocrisy to go around.

When the Republicans were using “reconciliation,” it was the Democrats who told us that the sky was falling and that the use of the reconciliation process was trampling on the rights of the minority.

We may disagree about whether our leaders in Congress even look "righteous on the outside," but on this issue they are "full of hypocrisy."

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