October 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

64 pages to create Social Security, why 2,000 to reform health care?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats unveiling their 1,990 page health care reform bill - it made us wonder about other landmark pieces of legislation in U.S. history and how long they were.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/30/art.boehner.bill.jpg caption=" House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is pictured behind a printout of the 2,000 page health care reform bill during a news conference on Capitol Hill yesterday."]

  • The original draft of the 1935 Economic Security Act, which established the Social Security Administration was 64 pages
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 - forbidding discrimination based on race and sex: 8 pages
  • The 19th amendment to the Constitution, giving Women the right to vote in 1920: 1 page
  • The Emancipation Proclamation, with which Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in 1863: 5 pages
  • Or, if you really want to get back to basics: The Declaration of independence came in at 1 page in 1776
  • And the Constitution: 4 pages long in 1787
  • Health care reform, Pelosi version - almost 2,000 pages.

The Democrats say they'll post the final version online for lawmakers and the public to read 72 hours before a vote. Good luck reading 2,000 pages in 72 hours.

Meanwhile although the Democrats keep talking about openness and transparency in this process, there are reports that they blocked the public from attending the unveiling ceremony for their health care bill outside of the Capitol yesterday. Videos online show people - not on a pre-approved guest list - being turned away.

Note to Nancy Pelosi: You people don't own the Capitol - we do.

Here’s my question to you: If it took 64 pages to create Social Security, why does it take 2,000 pages to reform health care?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Jim writes:
That's due to the litigious swamp that the current health care system has created, and the need to overwrite legislation as a consequence. Simple language just won't hold up in court!

Rich writes:
I see 3 issues: 1) 2,000 pages and only 72 hours for the public to review – so much for the so-called transparency of government. The only explanation for the time limit on a bill this size is to keep the voting public uneducated as to what is really in it. 2) The number of "pet projects" the Pelosi regime can piggyback in a bill this size. 3) The ability of our government (specifically the judiciary system) to understand and enforce a bill of this size.

Fran writes:
Yes, the documents you mention were considerably shorter than the current health reform bill, but they were drafted in simpler times with fewer competing interests to consider. And how many pages of amendments, related legislation and court opinions have been added to those simple documents since - all required to keep them relevant and useful in our complicated age?

Joe writes:
Jack, You know about smoke grenades, right? You make enough smoke and folks can't see what you are really doing. Lawyers have been using them for years!

Don writes:
The length of this bill is proportionate to the number of people they have to please to get it done. I would rather see a 50-page base package that we, the American public, could read, grasp and discuss. But that makes too much sense, and we're talking about Washington. Change, I don't think so!

B. from Mississippi writes:
My daughter was born with hydroencephalitis. Next year, when she's 24, my plan won't cover her anymore. I don't really care how long the bill is, or whether Nancy Pelosi let in some folks who wanted to watch the 'unveiling' of the bill in public instead of on TV. I just want the bill to pass.

Filed under: Health care • Social Security
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. jenny

    More lobbiest? Just kidding. Sicoal Security affects certains group of citizens the elderly and t he disabled. Healthcare affects everyone. The more people you have to please the larger the ampunt of paper.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  2. Mike from Denver

    In short, health care reform does not need that many pages. Short and simple works. Side-stepping, double talk, kickbacks, and loop holes need lots of pages in which to hide. You tell me which one we were just handed.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  3. Tom from Philly

    Well its like comparing a dr sues book to the illiad. Social security is a simple concept and i could probably define it in 64 words. Healthcare is a half century battle with all those special interests poised to protect their share of 17% of the economy. I could define a new health care system in a few sentences like: Private insurance is null and void. A payroll tax of 10% with an employer/employee split, no income above 250,000$ will be taxed for healthcare. Medical education and training will be provided by scholarships. Coverage will be universal. But the lawyers and staff jack what about the lawyers and staff they need things to do or their jobs would be a waste of national resources. And never forget the pharma and insurance CEO's someone needs to protect their lifestyle from the people they are overcharging and out pricing from the system!

    October 30, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  4. Karen (Virginia Beach, Virginia)

    So, that Congress can stick in more pork that the taxpayers will have to pay for now and in the future. It is easier to hide things in a larger bill that you know no one will actually read before voting on.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  5. Russ in PA

    Because politicians are meddling in something they have no right to meddle in. And probably attempting to snow the voters with their "herculean" task of producing nonsense regulations.

    Just what the country needs: more entitlements and regulations in the guise of reform. What a sham, and perpetrated by goons...

    October 30, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  6. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Obvious, if you don’t want anyone to know what you’re talking about you hide it in a blizzard of paper. Most legal contracts are pretty simple things when you boil it down; I pay you rent, you let me use your apartment and pay for anything I damage. A lawyer can turn that sentence into a 10 page contract written in a 6 point typeface.

    In this case, the 2,000 pages are used to hide the fact that healthcare reform will not change anything, except perhaps, to even further enrich the industry.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  7. David In Alabama

    It`s called "DAZE and COMFUSE", the art of making a document so big and complicated, that even if you do read it, you won`t understand it. This way, they can sneak loopholes and PORK into the bill, and get away with it. It never ceases to amaze me the extent of the things these people will do to baffle the American citizens so that they can get away with things we DONT want them to do.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  8. John from Alabama

    Jack: This is an easy question to answer. To many lawyers in Congress. Best start.....1000 lawyers at the down of the sea.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  9. Robert Clayton

    Social Security doesn't share its role with private enterprise. If you want a simple bill, go to Single Payer alone. Medicare Part E (for Everyone) would be very much simpler to write (and live with).

    Bob Clayton
    Silver Spring, MD

    October 30, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  10. Jack CArlson

    Because the Bill is a Charade.....more taxes.
    Cap an dTrade – loss of jobs and more taxes.
    This is a crooked Whitehouse and Congress.
    Jack C

    October 30, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  11. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    The bill is that long for the same reason that tort reform is not a part of the bill. Attorney's are well represented in Congress , much better than the American people are. For that reason the bill is long and almost impossible to comprehend it's not written in English but in Lawyerese. It is long so that if they do post something on the Internet, it would take days to read and to print it would take half of a forest. There is safety in numbers, the more pages the safer the composers of this ridiculous assault on the American taxpayer will be.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  12. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    What a foolish question Jack.... Haven't you ever heard of "special interest", "loopholes", or "protecting constituent (contributers') interest".

    October 30, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  13. Curly

    The bill is 2k pages because all the pinheads in Washington have to get all their special perks and pork after being paid off by the lobbyists.

    Curly – Wisconsin

    October 30, 2009 at 1:46 pm |


    this is all more of the same, doesn't matter if its republican or democrat. Congress just doesn't get it. Its all about special interest and big business, as well as control of the masses

    October 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  15. Steve, NY

    My experience working with the government , the more paperwork the better. They call it cover your axx. This is the trend in modern times. It's actually spreading into the private section.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  16. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    The Republicans have the drug and insurance company profits funding their "Just say no" campaign. If everything isn't spelled out in triplicate so that it can't be twisted into some form of "strangle Granny," some shill like Lieberman will pretend he misunderstands.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  17. Ed Tallahassee

    If you read laws in America they use to be written with the Assumption that most people were good, but forgetful. Now they are written with the Assumption that everyone is trying to pull something.

    So back in the day 64 pages you could say, let's help everybody, but now it takes 2,000 pages to say let's help everybody, but you have to also fill all the holes that people will try to exploit.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  18. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    The 64 pages it took to create Social Security wasn't done with thousands of lobbyists hands in the pie in 1935. At the time, the population was about 130 million people. In the 74 years since it's creation it's grown to 2,000 pages. In 74 more years it will be...covering over 500 million people and the number of pages could well exceed 10,000. Progress, ya gotta love it.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  19. Jackie FL

    It's computers Jack, remember computers were supposed to replace paper, and make our offices paperless. It's the internet and computers. Everything we put onto your computer, must have a printed copy as back up. Gotta love technology.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  20. Nick

    Because Social Security is broken and the public deserves better?

    October 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  21. Charleen

    Too many cooks in the kitchen.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  22. Terence

    Jack, With 2,000 pages they have more room to hide the EAR MARKS! How else could they let them through without being seen. Most of the pages are earmarks anyway.
    Terence, Piscataway, NJ

    October 30, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  23. Willi in Denver

    One word: lobbyists. You could write a law covering the issues that matter to Americans in just a few pages. The other 1900 pages are to reward campaign contributors and special interests, and aren't for the benefit of the American people.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  24. Karen, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Our Congressmen and women have become so grabby about government funding that I would imagine half of those pages are devoted to special interest, unassociated funding for individual states. I'd like to know how many attachments unrelated to health care reform are attached to this bill.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  25. Bob


    Your question involves an "apples and oranges" comparison.

    Just as it takes more people to build a house than it takes to put up it tent, it takes more people to run an operation that obviously would have to process and administer millions if not billions more claims than are handled by the social security administration.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  26. Simonsays/Orlando

    Special interests and lots of PORK. Don't think there is not a lot of "money for the folks back home" in this bill. Remember this is not about helping the average U. S. citizen. This is about making sure that those elected officials in Washington can hang onto their jobs. If they really cared about us they would put us on the same health care program that they enjoy.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  27. Richard McKinney, Texas

    Jack it really only takes about 5 pages to explain what the American people get out of this bill. The other 1995 pages explain what the lobbiests and politicians get out of the bill.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  28. Don - Northwood, Ohio

    64 Pages might be how it first started, Have you seen Social Security lately? Or California bust at the seams with Dispensary's? In today's world you have to try to make sure that all areas and angles imaginable must be addressed with some degree of Reason and Common Sense and Loopholes Closed or else someone out there will find a way to Exploit and/or Abuse It. Mainly protect it from Future Politicians.
    Look how Short and to the Point the Second Amendment is, They are STILL trying to Argue that Subject to this very Day!

    October 30, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  29. Dr. Jim Farrow (New Orleans)

    Probably a few earmarks and giveaways to special interests in there!

    October 30, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  30. Dean in Macungie,PA


    You apparently misunderstood, the healthcare reform legistration portion of this bill is only 16 pages. The other 1984 pages contain the lobbists demands for each House Rep./Senator in return for their future support.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  31. Randy from Salt Lake City

    You need tons of those legal doublespeak words and sentences to hide the fact that there will be no healtcare reform, whatsoever. Legal doublespeak hides all of those billions going to congresscritters buddies in the death industries and toxic drug companies. This country sucks and I can't wait for the dollar to crash.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  32. Doug - Dallas, TX

    You can thank the lawyers and lobbyists for that Jack. While I haven't read it, I' ll bet if you take out the legalize it drops to a couple of hundred pages. Trying to close all of the loopholes could take 1000 – 1500 pages alone. Companies today will do whatever they can to find a way to get around the system to make money. That's why the banking industry has 5 lobbyists for every elected representative and the insurance industry probably has more than that. You might as resign yourself to the fact that not much is going to change because the lawmakers who have to pass the laws to change it, are the same lawmakers who are receiving the campaign money from the companies so they won't pass the laws. Go figure!!!!!!!!

    October 30, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  33. Jim in Rochelle,IL

    Because it is written in undecipherable legalese and open to bureaucratic interpretation. That means we will get screwed when and if this monstrosity becomes law.
    How about something simple like "All U.S citizens and legal residents will be medically insured under the present Medicare system."
    That can be written on a napkin.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  34. Irv Lilley

    Jack, Because the insurance and drug commpanies want to make it as hard and confusing for people. Thay don't want reform.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  35. Stacy St.Augustine Fl

    In 1935 we didn't have computers. It was all hand written or maybe there wasn't enough trees.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  36. JD In NH

    It's one of the great mysteries of this entire process. Three words might have sufficed: Medicare For All. By adding healthy individuals and more premium payers to the Medicare program, it would have been fiscally sound for decades to come. Sadly, it becomes enormously complicated thanks to many lawmakers who have sold their souls to corporate masters.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  37. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    How many ammendments were there on the Social Security bill? But it seems that EVERYONE wants his piece of the pie instead of doing what is best for the people of the US.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  38. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    Jack; It make us think they were at work. But we know better. The lobbist wrote the pages and paid them to try to pass them.Congress WORK????

    October 30, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  39. Ken in Mt

    because everything the government does now has to writen in "legalese" for the lawyers. What used to take two sentences to say now takes several pages of gobble-de-gook to cover all the loose ends.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  40. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    because for the people trying to stop healthcare reform, the more complicated and convoluted they can make the bill, the better chance they have of defeating it, Jack. it's an old Washington lobbyist trick that unfortunately works too often.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  41. Phil-Wenatchee, WA

    Simple question...simple answer. It's a typical government operation, and by this I DON'T mean a government of, by and for the people. A "government" comprised of a bunch of selfish incompetent boobs whose only concern is sustaining their own personal "government-sponsored" health plans.

    October 30, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  42. Dave From Philly


    And we wonder why congress passes bills without reading them. Who has time to read 2,000 pages of legal jargon? No bill should be more than 100 pages. This is why Washington, DC is a waste land.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  43. Barbara Upstate NY

    Jack I don't care how many pages there are as long as we get health care reform. Times have changed and there weren't as many Lobbyists interfering back then. At least we know that Boehner can count. Unfortunately, the pile of papers isn't high enough, we can still see has shifty eyes.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  44. Dave in Illinois

    It takes 2000 pages to obscure the details of how the American public and healthcare providers will be screwed by another inefficient bureaucracy like Medicare.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  45. Mark

    All those pages make it easier to slip in paybacks, special favors, hidden taxes and such. Sad thing is both parties do it.

    Time for a new party.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  46. Meg from Troy

    Because they can. Technology has enabled us to write at length in arcane language. Congressional writers need to be clearer and shorter in their approach to writing bills. It is ridiculous!

    October 30, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  47. Anne -- Sulphur, LA

    Because people have forgotten how to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). Somehow Congress has developed the idea that the public is not able to handle the details - which we can - so they have to - which they don't. Over-detailed garbage rarely works

    October 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  48. angel

    It appears that they would like to set a record on more unread pages ever.
    In other words, if we translate these 1990 of unread pages, to plain English we soon could find out that it is a lot of BS going around.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  49. MIchael

    The simple answer is because that's what it takes today. The real truth is that it takes a lot because it affects a lot of institutions and businesses.

    Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix had 896 pages in it-and a lot smaller type, yet I know people who read that in less than 72 hours.

    Stop dwelling on the size of the bill and start focusing on what it does. this is just more scare tactics. "How can anybody possible know what is in 1000 pages?-read it, one page at a time.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  50. Dennis in Grand Rapids, MI

    Of course Jack, with a short bill, Congress will have a hard time putting in more pork-barrel projects.

    Besides I don't think legislators today know how to be clear, concise and to the point..

    October 30, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  51. keith in ky.

    Well Jack as you know it take a lot of paper to deal with all the crap from Pelosi and her fellow democrats that wrote this big load!!

    October 30, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  52. Ed'sKate

    Because this is 2009!!!

    October 30, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  53. aubrey

    The more freedom you destroy, the more pages you need.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  54. docb

    In the 1930's we had real statesmen, not has-been lawyers and career politicians, who wanted things that were best for the people. There was less corporate interference and the money flowing into the coffers was mostly, though not exclusively, from the people in their constituentcy not corporations who benefit from their weak kneed legislation!!

    The pork deals were not so pervasive nor so hefty. It was important to be a bill sponsor but not so important to obstruct the other party or go against the Presidency at the cost of the people! The above congressional 1900 pages are a testimony to the individual congressmen and women and not to the citizens of the United States of America! Shameless!

    October 30, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  55. Tired of the BS from Texas

    Promising everybody everything takes a lot of air time. Trying to "legislate" it kills a lot of trees.

    Trying to please everyone priceless.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  56. David Richards

    How many lawyers does it take to draft a health care bill. That might be the problem.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  57. JR. Sacramento

    this concerns me.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  58. Bob D Iowa


    That is only one paragraph or less for each lobbyist or special interest group involved. That’s not bad.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  59. T. Thomas in Abilene Tx.

    It takes 2000 pages because just saying" Medicare for all Americans "makes way too much sense (and takes only one page).

    October 30, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  60. Tina Tx

    More people the more ignorant we become and more wasteful.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  61. Michael in Albuquerque,NM

    What? Do we now complain that the law makers pay attention to detail? Do we now complain that they are thorough?
    The last time somebody complained to me when I did my job as required I gave them a new colon and quit my job. If the republicans want to complain that a bill is complete and thoroughly written, they will be using their publicly paid health plan to repair their backside too!

    October 30, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  62. LouisLASHMAN

    It was just 1,018-pages in July, now it's double.

    if this bill passes, you would be able to keep your current health insurance as Obama promises, but you wouldn’t be able to make any changes to it beyond adding or deleting new dependents, and the insurance company wouldn’t be able to increase premiums for specific risk groups without raising everyone’s premiums by the same amount, and they won’t be able to accept any new customers under the existing plan.
    -Am watching this bill everyday and it seems growing, and by the time it gets to the president desk it might be 2,000,000 pages. God forbid.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  63. james in anaheim california

    It is as plain as the nose on your face Jack that everyone of those men and women in the congress and senate are in the hip pockets of the pharmacutical companies. When was the last time that anyone of them did something meaningful that really helped the people of this country?
    How in the world does President Obama and the Democrats expect that this health care bill will not raise taxes and not add to the deficit.2000 pages or not,this is a disaster waiting and all of us should be waiting to say to the democrats,WE TOLD YOU SO!

    October 30, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  64. Jason Vines

    That's 27 pages an hour provided you don't sleep. After 24 hours you will be so groggy, you won't be able to comprehend anything. Which, is exactly their mission. Sad, really.

    Jason Vines
    Franklin, Michigan

    P.S. Hey Jack, grew up in Pella, Iowa and used to watch you on WHO. Remember when you said "the weather, well, it sucks" and you got sacked for it. Think how times have changed. They say "sucks" on family programming and cartoons these days.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  65. John from New York

    C'mon Jack....Frankly, I would HOPE that the legislation would be thorough when it comes to something as important as healthcare reform. The Bush Administration gave us a bellyfull of examples of how simpler AIN'T better....simpler is often, well, just more simple minded.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  66. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, don't discount this effort to ensure the "public" does not know what is going to hit them. This bill is 2,000 pages, the Senate version is 1,600 pages or so, and after anyone who has the patience to sit down and read these digests these 2 monsters, they are going to COMBINE them, redo them, add to them, modify them, and make them 2,500 – 3,000 pages, post them again for 72 hours. End result will be that once again Congress will vote on and probably pass a bill that noone has read or has any idea what is contained in it, much less how it will affect the people it applies to. One thing you can guarantee, the cost will be 3-4 times the stated cost when we finally do figure out what it says. May God have pity on our country.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  67. Joe

    Why that many pages? It's obvious, isn't it? These are the days of special interests, and bills like these have hundreds of pages to appease special interests of many of the involved senators. This bill could probably be done in under 100 pages if it weren't laden with pork. Unfortunately, because of the way our system is structured, consensus is often achieved with said pork, making it the only way to get anything done. It's a sad state of affairs for politics in this country.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  68. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    Hi Jack! Thanks for this article. I was a History major and can appreciate it. I forgot before – Happy Halloween to you and Wolf!

    October 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  69. Ed in Wisconsin

    All the bills these days are full of garbage that special interests put in there. It's been this way for decades and is only getting worse.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  70. Bill Dempsey

    64 pages offers precious little real estate to hide the loopholes, Jack.

    Bill – NYC

    October 30, 2009 at 3:52 pm |

    Can you imagine how long it would be if the English version was added.
    Some people really know how to stack it.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  72. Jennifer - Winnipeg

    The Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Declaration of Independence were written by hand, which could be a reason they were so few pages. Then the typewriter came into being and the documents got a little wordier. Then, 40 years ago, voila!, the computer ... a little wordier still. Today, the computer is networked to umpteen different people who are all working on a small portion ... heaven forbid they should be limited to a page each! I jest, of course. I would doubt that all 2000 pages of the Health Care Reform, will ever be read by any one person. The lawmakers will divide it up ... none reading it all, and vote on what they've read. The reason it's so many pages is because it's all written in legalese!!!!!!!!! Have you ever asked a lawyer a simple question and gotten a simple answer??

    October 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  73. jeff in hawaii


    October 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  74. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    every profession has its own liguistic conceits. It is much easier to create loopholes by using impenetrable vocabulary, circumlocutory sentence structure, and logical syllogisms to achieve the level of obfuscation, confusion, and impotence necessary to satisfy the special interests who want to cripple a policy change or to make a buck out of it, or both. This takes much more time, ink, and paper, than simply saying access to affordable health care is a basic human right and the United States Government will guarantee that all its citizens shall have that access unimpeded by private insurance companies.
    Arlington Texas

    October 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  75. Sherri-Illinois

    Would you prefer 1 page Jack? What difference does it make because its all to save face for President Obama and the damn thing is not effective until 2014. Lets talk about solutions to the jobless economy and the Republicans blocking passing the extension of unemployment benefits bill thats been in the Senate since 9/23rd with 600.000 jobless Americans who exhausted their benefits 2 mos ago!

    October 30, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  76. inofritzn

    I think that's a fair gauge as to how ineffective and bogged down government has become. After 8 years of lacking a functional government, it looks like year 9 is just continuing the trend.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  77. Brian Delray Beach, FL

    The Social Security Act was written at a time in American history when greed existed but was not yet a religion. The Congress of the thirties fully appreciated what damage financial gymnastics could bring down upon the Country and had not yet been purchased lock, stock, and barrel by the Bankers, Insurance Companies and Corporate giants. The length of today's document is caused by all the loopholes and condradictions designed to insure confusion when implemented. Actually if a health care reform bill or anything like it is ever passed it will so diluted that even the insurance companies will praise its passage.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  78. Karen, TN

    Times have changed, Jack. Now we have wall-to-wall lawyers, and they're hungry.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  79. Jim Bailey

    A great number of Congress critters are lawyers; they are used to making money by billable hours which they prove by generating tons of paper work.
    Some one needs to tell them that in this job they are on a flat salary...more paperwork won't get them extra money.
    If they need to make more money they need to talk to Murtha and Rangle.
    Cripple Creek CO

    October 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  80. Dick Griffith

    It has to be that these congressmen and congresswomen just don't have a command of the English language if it takes so many words to say something.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  81. Rus in St. Paul, MN

    But Jack, how would there be loopholes to exploit if it were only 5 pages long? And how would politicians get campaign contributions if they weren't being elected to fix the loopholes in legislation? And think of all the lawyers that will be needed to figure out what all of it means, it's a stimulus package and health care package all in one!

    October 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  82. Alex in Seattle

    To hide all of the pork and other special interest give-away goodies hidden amidst pages of obfuscating legalese.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  83. Melissa

    Because they can't get certain whiny segments of the government to agree on ANYTHING without detailing down to the minutest detail.

    October 30, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  84. MAX

    How many trees 2000 pages represents? I thought this new Government wanted to change things for the better (future for our kids) instead they are wasting trees and oxygen in writing and talking lot of craps.
    Nancy Pelosi is so dumb. How can we trust a Government when there is such incompetent?

    October 30, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  85. Cindy

    Creation is much much easier than Reformation. Of course though, Destruction trumps them both.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  86. Katiec Pekin, IL

    You keep trying to make the American people believe this is something new. If you would even just look back at the last eight years, these actions were the norm.
    You conventienty forget there are many republican amendments added to this bill also. Far as the American people owning capital hill, tell that to your republicans who vote against anything and everything that the people want.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  87. Kevin in Austin

    A couple of points:

    1. More lawyers and greedy Republicans and health insurance companies means more words to keep them from taking this thing apart.

    2. C'mon. 2000 pages isn't that hard to read in 72 hours. You don't think the Republicans can work as a team on this. Say 20 of them. That's 100 pages each. Oh you're right. Still too much. And they've had more than 72 hours to understand it. 90% of what's in it has been around for months. So now it's only 200 pages of new stuff. Oh yeah, still too much to read.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  88. Thomas Welch

    Because of inflation! No, it is because the longer a document is the harder it is to comprehend.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  89. Willard Gatzke

    It took only 10 sentences for the basis of western civilization (the ten commandments)

    Obviously God never went to law school.

    Canon City, CO

    October 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  90. John, Fort Collins, CO

    In theory, if an infinite number of lobbyists typed on an infinite number of computers, the result would be a 2,000 page health care reform bill. In 1935, there were far fewer lobbyists using manual typewriters when the 64 page Economic Security Act was drafted.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  91. Ron from SF

    To start with, no one had to rewrite all the rules that were written to protect a monopolized/privatized version of social security, that was robbing the people blind. In addition to that, you now have Congressional Critters who are little more than representatives of the insurance companies and the banks and they are doing their best to serve their corporate masters, rather than the American people. Sadly, you can bet that buried somewhere in this legislation, some Republican has put a poison pill Amendment in this thing that will make us all regret we even tried to reform the insurance companies. It was probably sold as a “bipartisan compromise”.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  92. Dick Griffith

    It has to be that these congressmen and congresswomen just don't have a command of the English laguage if it takes so many words to say something.

    Eureka, IL

    October 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  93. Scott

    This is not a Democratic thing to make bills this long. It comes from lawyers (I want to be one by the way) trying to find loopholes in every single ounce of legislation passed. The Democrats and Republicans (if they had any power) make very long bills. It is not a partisan thing to do. Also, the 1990 page count is misleading. The print is so large and spaced out on the pages that if you were to print it as a book it probably would be well under 500 pages. Yes that is still very long but that is the way legislation is forced by outside factors to be passed.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  94. Tim in Texas

    Old Boehner and the rest of the dimwit republicans passed a nice short prescription drug benefit bill that added 700 billion to our deficit - short 'cause they didn't even bother to negotiate prices with the drug companies. I don't give a crap how long the bill is or if people have time to "read it" - like they're going to read it or be able to understand it anyway - I care whether it works. And if the best argument that you can come up with against the bill is that it includes 'death panels' - which it doesn't; that it is a government 'takeover' of healthcare - which it isn't; or that it's too long - which who cares; or that some people should have been let in to the unveiling of it - which who cares; then it's pretty clear that you don't have any good arguments against it.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  95. John

    How else can they hide all of the loopholes that will be used to get around and defraud the system.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  96. Ken in NC

    2,000 sheets on a roll is what it will probably take to clean up the mess Republicans made. Oh you meant the 2,000 sheets for the health bill. Same difference Jack. Republicans made that mess too over 50 years.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  97. JWC in Atlanta

    Talk is cheap, Jack. And talk is all these guys have to sell. They're broke and in debt they can't pull any more out of the beleaguered taxpayer, so all they have left is talk. And what else can we expect out of a bunch of lawyers anyway?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  98. Sara in ND

    The 3 Ls: Lawyers, Lobbyists, and Loopholes.

    Sara in ND

    October 30, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  99. June

    One word Jack- obfuscation.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  100. C.E. Family - Austin, TX

    Because of the republican right wing nit-wits.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  101. Craig

    Simple, health care is much more complicated than social security.

    You have to take into account doctors, insurance companies, drug companies, patients, the manufacturing of equipment, employee benefits, medicare, medicaid, research, the list goes on. Why would you assume a social security bill should be an equal amount of pages?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  102. Bob Henry Canada

    Because it's full of pork.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  103. John


    Isn't it obvious? There are more lawyers than ever before.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  104. jim Blevins

    Lawyers have taken over the country. How about a law that prevents lawyers from serving in Congress?

    Jim, Craig, CO

    October 30, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  105. Annie, Atlanta

    They’re making sure we won’t read how they just gave more power to big insurance. As if they need more. We can’t even cancel health insurance for a few months, in protest, because of that power. The proverbial rock and hard place. (Thanks, congress, for nothing – enjoying that health care of yours, paid for by us?)

    October 30, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  106. Carl Fuller in Huffman, TX

    The reason so many pages are needed is quite simple. Honesty is not complex at all. Complexity is a means for deception.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  107. mymanhenri

    Simple Jack. 1 page of every Big Pharma lobbyist, and his/her interests. Health care became complicated when profit was tied to people's health. Welcome to the American Dream.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  108. Dorothy, Kentucky

    Jack it just might be because things change sometimes for the good, sometimes not, take a look at some of your old photos and see what you think.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  109. Michael

    The social security bill didn't establish all of what social security is today, it only established a minimum wage and capped work hours per week. Not to mention back then there were few laws to circumvent, whereas the health care bill must change medicare, medicaid, insurance regulations, and establish a whole new part of government. Is it too long? Of course, but using old bills and proclamations to support that is lunacy.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  110. Tina in PA

    Yes, It could be more simplified. But I don't think it really matters when it comes to the republicans Obama is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. If it were twelve pages they'd have something to say about that.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  111. Fran

    Yes, the documents you mention were considerably shorter than the current health reform bill - but they were drafted in simpler times, with fewer competing interests to consider. And how many pages of amendments, related legislation and court opinions have been added to those simple documents since - all required to keep them relevant and useful in our complicated age?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  112. Terry


    Times have changed, look closer 1500 pages of reform and 490 are PORK. They worked very hard to hide all the loop holes and they deserve a little something to keep the people at home happy so they get re-elected. Really I thought you of all people would know this...

    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  113. Fred Castellow

    The American public should answer with one line,;;


    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  114. John

    The number of pages is directlu related to the number of lobbyist.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  115. A. T.; Atlanta, GA

    Just because there are too many things to say, too many borders to draw, and too many escalation to prevent, or simply too many speculations, then they need so many pages. I wish I could be their supervisor to ask then only a 233 pages , each page being a year of freedom and independence of this country!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  116. stevenlee

    I think the biggest reason it takes almost 2000 pages on health reform bill, which was probably originally 200 pages, is that they had to use a lot of definitions so the republicans could comprehend it.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  117. Joe Palen

    Jack, you know about smoke grenades, right? You make enough smoke and folks can't see what you are really doing. Lawyers have been using them for years!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  118. Don McQuistion

    The length of this bill is proportionate to the number of people they
    have to please to get it done. I would rather see a 50 page base
    package, that we, the American public could read, grasp and discuss.
    But that makes too much sense, and we're talking about Washington.
    Change............I don't think so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  119. Jim Dodson

    That's due to the litigatious swamp that the current health care system has created, and the need to overwrite legislation as a consequence. Simple language just won't hold up in court!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  120. Daniel Mullen in Ottawa

    It is easy, Jack:

    1 – Trial lawyers
    2 – Lobbyists
    3 – Everyone else who gave big bucks to the above and to all of the campaigns of the members who now hold a majority in congress and cannot seem to do a thing with it.

    Never have so many done so little for so many for the benefit of so few.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  121. Norm

    Grow up. Obama would make it one page. Maybe one sentence.
    We will create a PUBLIC OPTION so all Americans can afford Medical coverage and health care. It is the oposition that creates the problems that make it the lenghtly mess that it is.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  122. Shawn in Eugene

    The bigger the haystack you have, the easier it is to hide needles in it. A 2,000 page document is a pretty big haystack.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  123. John

    Jack. Simple answer. Think of all the jobs this created in the paper industry. Job creation wow

    October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  124. Laurie

    Simple answer here Jack . There is only one reason this is done , to keep the American people in the dark and as ignorant as possible about any legislation going through the process in congress . If the "people" knew all that is really going on in Washington , no one would be re-elected , ever!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  125. Glenn from Florida

    It takes 2000 pages because it takes a lot of paper to make loopholes big enough to drive trucks through.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  126. April

    2000 pages wow! wonder how many greedy hands are in it?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  127. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    Jack you are preaching to the choir. We all wanted it to be a 200 page easy read.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  128. Peter Ruscitti


    I know you have a reputation of being a contrarian but do you really have to ask a question like this. I agree that Congress is dysfunctional but there is a danger of giving a simple answer (health care reform bill) to a complex question (how do we fix a broken health care system?). Do you really think the answer to this mess could be penned in a couple of pages? Give me a break!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  129. Sal

    Jack because everybody is only interested in themselves.
    There is a little something on those pages for every member of Congress , Senate, White House etc...
    It does not matter whether your a Democrat or a Republican.
    These people should be ashamed of themselves.
    I say to people when they get their paycheck do they look at it an say they earn it? thats all that matters.
    How do these elected officials look at their paychecks and then look at themselves in the mirror?
    God help us.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  130. Patty.D. Bristol, Pa.

    Jack, I'm not sure why it's so long, maybe because all those lawmakers have to stuff all kind of goodies in it. But listening to Rep. Bohner whine about how long it is, I doubt he will even read it!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  131. Ken in NC

    Jack the bill is 2,000 sheets long. That's only 100 pages for each of the 20 Republican Senators to read. I know there are 40 Republican Senators but just incase some may be at the tanning salon and do not have time to read it the 20 that can read will be able to do it.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  132. David in Philadelphia

    This is what happens when a) Congress is made up of mostly lawyers, b) Each of those congress-people answer to corporate and special interest lobbyists because c) they need the financing of lobbyists to fund their campaigns.

    Jack, it seems like if campaigns were no longer privately funded, most of this BS would go away.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  133. Bob in Texas

    Jack, you know the answer as well as I do, one little four letter word, "PORK" and special interests hidden deep within the bowels of the bill.

    If I were prez, I wouldn't sign anything that wasn't;

    Written in plain English,
    Contained any extraneous appropriations,
    Exceeded 25 pages in length.

    It's up to Obama now to take his party to task on this.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  134. Peter Lepper

    The answer is simple too many lawyers the USA these days. Everything has to scrutinized by every two bit lawyer so all bases HAVE to be covered to protect the American people from the Republican lawyers and the right wingers on the USSC..

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  135. Michael , NV

    It's obvious our government does not understand the K.I.S.S rule.

    K.I.S.S means





    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  136. Mike

    When you write legislation for people, it only takes a few pages. But when you're writing legislation for the benefit of all corporations, it takes a lot more.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  137. john ade

    It takes that many pages to prevent the insurance industry from finding some way to bypass the bill's intent. It would have only taken one page if we did what we should have done – a one-payer system with government control of our health care.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  138. Kevin Holmes

    Careful about endorsing the Republican talking point, Jack. I think this is an unfortunate trend that plagues all recent legislation and has to do with corrupt interests involved. It's getting near time to stop being partisan, and start fighting the system now.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  139. Michael n Seattle

    It's simple Jack this is a complicated reform , whats the problem in 3 hours I got through 700 pages, you'd think out leaders could get through it fast, and it does confuse those Insurance lobbyist as well as you and Wolf. .

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  140. Brett Dugue

    One word Jack... LAWYERS!

    On another note, how come no one is covering the fact that fighters were not launched after a U.S. airliner was out of contact for over an hour and a half and later serverly off course and well beyond its intended destination?!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  141. Gladycia

    it takes 9 months to make a child, 5 seconds for anyting to go wrong after that, and years to fix.....Our government has had brain disorders for a long time, but now it's down to being a vegetable......2,000 pages sounds like the stimulation it needs.....

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  142. AC

    Sure the constitution was 4 pages long, but how many thousands of pages have been written to define and interpret it?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  143. Art in WV

    Your comment is unfair, Jack. Life is complicated in the 21st century, so get used to it. Social Security is pretty simple, really. You get old and they give you money. Is there anything more complicated than health care in America today? It's at least thirty times as complicated as providing retirement payments to senior citizens, so you can expect thirty times the volume in legislation. If anything, at least lay the blame for how complicated it is where it really belongs – at the feet of the health care industry and all those greedy lobbyists.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  144. Cliff Glass - East Rockaway, NY


    In the litany of special interest groups lining the pockets of all our Representatives, you missed the most obvious: the copy machine and copier paper lobby.

    Do you really think that Xerox, Pitney Bowes, and Hammermill were going to be left out of the party ?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  145. Gabe


    The size of the bill is all about making sure there is no stone left unturned. If you leave loop holes and openings then we know very well that every lawer in the country will do their best to exploit it.

    Once again we are having to tapdance for those we should 'inheriently trust'.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  146. Derrick in Redondo Beach, CA

    I can't afford health coverage now and i'm not covered now, Jack. Do you really think i care about how many pages the bill is. I'll take it however i can get it. Seems it's always the haves criticizing when the have-nots are getting something.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  147. Fred

    They could use that much paper to clean each desk of their desks.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  148. Sonny Edwards-Muscle Shoals Al

    Both houses of Congress have spent far too much time doing far too little. By writing a bill that is far too big, the hope far too few will read it, and realize most of them have been there far too long, making far too much money. Extending medicare to all would have worked fine, but that is far too simple.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  149. chris lauritzen

    Hey Jack, How about the length of the GOP big pharma bill?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  150. JOHN

    I am surprised at you Jack for asking this question. The insurance Companies have had decades to set up a situation where profits go up and our services go down. I don't think anyone can fully reform healthcare and I know if you try, you will need more than just a few pages to address the issues.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  151. pottokettle

    "Note to Nancy Pelosi: You people don't own the Capitol – we do."

    well until the voters and citizen of this country stand up for what they believe in and what is truely right, then your wrong, the own it and they own you and me and there does not seem to be enough people to say otherwise.

    remember during the election period, there is this guy I know who is now president but said this, word for word:

    "I don’t take a dime of their [lobbyist] money, and when I am president, they won’t find a job in my White House.”

    HA! he obviously dressed up as a comdian for Halloween

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  152. Dave Wilson

    One word: obfuscation

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  153. Daryl

    Boy that's alot of dead trees...

    We'll have to address that in the Cap and Trade bill

    Washington DC

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  154. Habib from new orleans

    Jack the problem is not the goverment it is idiot of lawmakers that we have trying to miss guide us with some BS of 1990 pages. I know there is some way t shorten that crap.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  155. George

    Who cares how many pages are in the bill. I'm sick and tired of watching Sen. Boehner plopping down the health care bill in front of the cameras as if it's preposterous that it's this big. If it takes 2000 pages to put an end to this social injustice than I volunteer to to go to Washington with my little red wagon and carry it around for the Republican party myself.


    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  156. Liz Illinois

    In the 21st century we as Americans, and our elected officials have become long-winded. Just keep talking and say nothing. We see it on cable tv all of the time. People talk over each other, louder than the other person and say nothing. Elected officials are personifications of the people who elect them.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  157. Paul MacDonald

    After taking a 20% paycut earlier in the year to avoid getting laid off, I can no longer afford health insurance. All I want from Pelosi and the rest of Congress is one sentence that reads, "You're covered!"

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  158. Ben in New Mexico

    Because the logging industry has lobbyists in Washington too.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  159. Dennis Ricks

    The 535 useless slugs that occupy congress do this to create work for their equally useless staffs. This is a prime example showing why we need to vote every incumbant out of office when they come up for re-election.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  160. George in CA


    The Health care Reform bill has to be 2,000 pages long because too many people demand assurances. For example, pro-life people are demanding absolute proof that no abortion will be subsidized by this bill. Don't forget that "You lie!" was shouted out when President Obama said it would not benefit illegal immigrants. The need to say what the bill will not cover probably takes up far more words and pages than what it does provide for.

    The writers of the constitution did not have to address every conceivable issue and nuance that might come up. If they did, they would never have gotten anywhere.


    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  161. cam

    Canada wrote their health care reform on a bakers dozen pages.Congress have to make room for all the lobbyists perks!
    They have become nothing more than a clearing house to funnel public funds into corporations with connections.
    The question is where is the public outrage.Revolutions have been waged for less!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  162. Jerry

    This is 2000 pages of the biggest tax burden put on the american people, just a year past the biggest financial collapse the world has ever seen. This is a huge democratic tax and power grab. The whole health care calamity is just that, a calamity and fool hardy. Jerry /Iowa

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  163. Michael Wishnowski Winnipeg, Canada

    Because the phrase, "We're going to screw this up royally" says too much too soon. Jack both the GOP and the Dems have taken the last 50 or 60 years and perfected serving themselves. You want an answer-term limits for the whole rotten lot of them. Give these folks just four years to do their jobs and they will waste a lot less time on paperwork and a lot more time getting stuff done. PS, thanks again for America, the greatest reality show of all time. Although it evokes all sorts of emotions, mostly it keeps me laughing.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  164. LC

    2K pages? Because the primary goals of health reform have been to preserve employer-based health care & private insurance company profits. Add all the political & state interests and that's what you get.

    Medicare for all? Remove the words "over 65".

    October 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  165. Kenny Cassady

    I don't think we should be focusing on the length of this healthcare reform bill. It's clearly a very complicated issue. Look how much debate there's been and money spent on fighting it. What we should be focused on is the content. Who will it help, and how? I don't care how many pages it is if it's an effective plan. At 2,000 pages, it better be effective.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  166. Jane, Oklahoma

    Simple, it creates lots of government jobs.
    Part of the Recovery Act.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  167. Carter B. from Jacksonville Fl

    Why the 1990 pages for Healthcare Reform?

    Because the greedy insurance industry, their crooked lawyers and paid off republican legislatures will go to every possible extreme to dilute and destroy it just like they tried to do with SS and Medicare. Duh.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  168. Linda in Arizona

    It's all the giveaways to the insurance and other "health care" industries. They couldn't fit them all in with any fewer pages.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  169. Andre Krasich

    The reason for the ridiculous length is purely obfuscation. With government reaching its inability to function on any level, it's not surprising to see failure spun as extraordinary. Therefore if the government is going to provide transparency to the public, it will do so only with nebulus and daunting bills that are "clearly" opaque.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  170. Debbie from Naperville, IL

    These elected officials are a bunch of windbags who do not know how to connect with the majority of the nation. Added to this fact is that most of them are lawyers, who use as many words as they can to confuse us and hide what they're really doing, and we have the makings of a disaster in healthcare "reform".
    It is easy. Here's what they could have said in the bill:
    1)cover preconditions
    2)make coverage portable
    3)regulate the insurance industry, the insurance industry, and the pharm industry.
    4)Offer coverage to those who cannot get it from the insurance industry, even at higher premiums.
    That's all they had to write. But instead, we have all of this convoluted language that says nothing.
    Typical of this government.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  171. John Barrera

    I can't for the life of me understand how and why such an average proposition can turn out to be 5 times the size of some of the world's literary masterpieces. It makes me wonder what is hidden inside this tome that the American people would outright reject if brought out in the open BEFORE the bill passes.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  172. Will from San Jose CA

    You need a lot of filler to hide all the loopholes and kickbacks.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  173. southerncousin

    Social Security in spite of being misguided, was an honest attempt to assist Americans. The Health Care Reform (or what ever misleading jargon the libs are using to describe it now) is nothing but a robbery and fraud perpetrated on American taxpayers. Obama and the dwarves have broken every promise they made in creating it. The only good thing is that if it is passed we won't have to worry about a liberal ever being elected in this country again, provided that the press (or at least Fox) provides honest feedback of what it is really about and all of the lies that went in to it.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  174. Charles L. Hopkins, SR.

    The reason it takes so many pages for any legislation today is because of the "Pork" in it. I'm surprised that our elected government officials aren't at health risk due to Swine Flu or high blood pressure.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  175. Paul Jefko

    When you set up anything from scratch, like Social Security, it is easier than modifying it. All of the items you cited did not have precedents.

    The Congress is trying to reform a health care system that is already in place and involves private insurance companies, public insurance entities, and medical practitioners.

    Compare this with rehabbing a house. It is easier to tear it down and start over from a hole in the ground than replacing wall board, countertops, sinks, electrical outlets, floors etc.

    Have your researcher find the various laws that reformed social security. They will be voluminous.

    New Port Richey FL

    October 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  176. Joann

    That is a good question! SO, why are the Republicans being
    called the Party of NO, when John McCain and other Republicans
    had a 4 point bill that would reform health care. Who in their right
    mind would devise a 2000 page bill ....I'll tell you who....Nancy Pelosi
    and her incompetent majority Congress who don't want anyone to know what's in the bill. Outrageous, incompetent. partisan, non-transparent Democrtaic Congress that should be ousted ! And, you're right, Jack, Washington belongs to the people, NOT Nancy Pelosi
    and the Democratic Congress who are apparently Drunk on Power
    and short on competence.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  177. Craig G. , Florida

    When I submitted a 3 page letter to my boss, for approval, before mailing to a client. He said. Craig, you need to get your point across in one page or less because everything after that is bulls___.

    With 1,990 pages I guess I need to buy a pair of boots.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  178. sandi

    Litigation is the simple answer to the latest and greatest 2000 page "Health Care Reform" from the House. Wish they would have included Torte reform in the package and maybe we would have had a 100 page document!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  179. Ed Varchal

    The documents you listed had a specific and somewhat limited purpose. I think Healthcare reform has become the tool for doing what President Obama said in a speach just before taking office.
    We are just 5 days away from fundamentally changing the United States of America.

    I didn't understand the statement then, but I think I am comming to understand what he has in mind and it is scary. I don't think it is what the founding fathers had in mind. I hope we still remember who the founding fathers were and what they said 20-30 years from now
    Ed in Florida

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  180. Tony

    A clear sign that Pelosi is a leftwing nut not representing the American people. 2000 pages of special interests. Listen up out of touch woman.........I DON'T CARE FOR PUBLIC OPTION....it does not help me. I want my insurance premium lowered ont higher. The U.S.A. is a land of opportunity not land of redistribution of wealth.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  181. Robert

    It probably takes 1000 pages just to make the health insurance cartel behave. That is good news! How ADD has our nation become when we want our lawmakers to simply TWEET a new healthcare bill? Come on Jack! Our lawmakers are finally working. Don't discourage them.
    Robert – Honolulu

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  182. Clifford Beatty

    Hypocrisy jack.......hypocrisy,
    These folks are so much tied to the whims of the healthcare industry that they will not do anything to jeopardize that economic relationship. They are making this bill so complicating that by the time it is signed it is a useless piece of crap.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  183. Tom from Vermillion, Ohio

    Read ALL the Oaths of Offices every single Elected Official takes. Carefully, read the US Constitution, and note that all those who are elected, swear to “preserve and protect the US Constitution”. What is needed here and now is a few Amendments to the US Constitution...short and sweet. “Amendment: All United States Citizens shall have access to World Class Health Care without the pain of Indebtedness and Personal Cost...” With this Amendment in place, Our Government will be forced to come up with a means of paying for it. (Hint, try to discover what the “root definition” of our fiat currency is). The cost of this Amendment can in no way be construed as a debt that our children will inherit.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  184. Rick Tincani

    I think that there are probably two reasons that the documentation is so INCREDIBLY long with reason 1 being that all those sneaky lawmakers are including bits of legislation for their own benefit like pay raises and bull marked bills and 2 would be the regurgitated legal lingo that is required since in todays day and age everybody has to cover their tails from lawsuits.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  185. RJ from Lake,MI

    Because quite frankly Jack its a scam to re-distribute the wealth of this nation! The same people who are going to benefit from this are the same people you see in the middle of the winter with their front doors open because its too hot! Make everyone who recieves benefits from Obamanation work for every dime they take from the tax payer!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  186. Chad Taylor

    As a citizen,I'd like the chance to read these 2000 pages but knowing there written by a bunch of legal thieves ie;lawyers, I'm sure the verbage would be such that by the time I reached the 2000th page, I'd not know what I just read let alone able to comprehend it!!! -or- I'd liken it to a human "movement" you know ...when you've just got to go...sometimes its a little loose and it takes a lot, and I mean a lot of "paper" to clean it up.....Yup..just like the new and improved health care plan...it's going to take a lot...and I mean a lot of "paper" to clean it up!!!!!!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  187. me2know

    Can you say "Baffle them with B/S"? Polititions don't want the American People to know what they are doing, simple as that. The Republican healthcare bill was less then 70 pages but Nancy P stuck it in comittee and kept it there to die so" We The People" would get this piece of trah shoved...... down our throats. WELL GUESS WHAT, TAKE YOUR REFORM AND SHOVE IT!!!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  188. pandora anwyl

    First of all, don't forget that the republicans haven't come up with one page of healthcare reform/legislation. Frankly, when H Paulson gave a 3 page proposal for the initial bailout, he obviously didn't put any real thought into it and certainly did not protect the taxpayers' interests. No doubt, 2000 pages is a lot, but it is our system that requires it, not the Democratic party.

    I wish all of the talking heads had to live like the rest of us. My husband and I each own our own business, me for 12 years and he for 3. I am 51 and he is 48. We pay 800 a month, have a 5400 deductible and as his blood pressure is high, anything that has to do with his heart, will not be covered. I have no doubt that if my husband gets ill, the insurance company will find a way to cover nothing as everything related to the heart one way or another. So, 15k in healthcare before we get any coverage. I am waiting to go to the doctor until next year as my last check up cost 900 with all the tests and frankly we don't have the money. So, if anything is wrong, it will likely get worse before any doctor has a chance to diagnose it.
    Why don't you spend more time talking about the enormous amounts of money that the insurance companie, pharmaceutical companies and conservative lobbyists are spending to defeat any healthcare reform instead of inane comments about the length of the bill

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  189. Carole in W.Palm Beach

    Two thousand pages! Seventy-two hours? Evelyn Woods couldn't do that nor can our lawmakers nor "we, the people." Perhaps that's the point. It may be Halloween but the idea that Congress may pass a long awaited Healthcare Reform, which we so badly need, without exactly knowing what it says-Creeps me out!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  190. Will

    The answer to that is simple: earmarks and corruption.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  191. Steve

    Jack your question is intellectually dishonest and you know it. The emancipation proclamation, the civil rights act and women's suffrage were basic single issue up-or-down decisions. By contrast health care, much like the field of medicine, is highly complex and cannot be dumbed-down into one question that can be answered with a single tweet. Simple is not always better. Look at the Bush administrations original draft of the TARP act. It was only three pages and widely criticized for failing to address issues like compensation and bonuses. I for one am grateful that careful consideration is being applied by this administration to healthcare, the war in Afghanistan, and many other issues that were ignored or bungled under the Bush Junta.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  192. diridi

    Jack, I am a law grad...have masters in law from a well reputed univerrsity...it is all a biggest BOGUS in this nation....no enactment is like this many pages....no penal law, no civil laws....you remember, Kenneth Starr...4800 pages of clinton documents...what..???they are making American people so idiotic....total idiots...these senate, congressmen...it is our "KARMA"....thats it...some one will straighten....sin is ripe...

    October 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  193. jaime Greer

    Put it all on a roll and hang it in all the public restrooms. At least that way it will be used to clean up some of the mess it will make. It may even get read.
    How many trees are dying for the paper to print this bill.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  194. jo parker

    I agree with your comment that Congress is disfunctional, but I would add that they are incompetent. The comment that if you like your insurance you can keep it. Not true. I have already been notified that the company I am with will no longer insure in Iowa so I had to get insurance through a new company.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  195. Daniel ............... Toronto

    The reason they only give 72 hours to read the bill is because they don't want the public to read it? No-one, not even a speed reader could read it all and understand it in 72 hours.

    Daniel ..................... Toronto, Canada

    October 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  196. Rick

    Why does it take 2000 pages for the health care bill. The Democrats can't dazzle you with their brillance so they have to baffle you with their BS. If you can't write a bill in twenty five pages or less you are killing the forrests for no apparent reason. We need to vote all of these bums out of office.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  197. Donald in CA

    It takes that many pages to explain it to the GOP.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  198. Jesus Aguilar

    Why so many pages? It is the perception that the bill is robust and has the intention of being the greatest thing since sliced bread. It is made to give cover to the insurance companies and keep the status quo on health insurance. Sure we can read it online but who has the time to actually read it? I'd like to take the time to read all 2000 pages but in a few hours I have to go to my job that has cut hours making it nearly impossible for employees to get the employer provided health insurance because the minimum requirement of hours has been moved from 30 to 36 hours. I have to work 6 days just to barely make it and about 4 people other than me have it. It's good to see though that congress has to barely work to get free health care. Why can't we get the same coverage? We pay for it.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  199. bill zegras

    you bury the facts with garbage volume of paper. we the citizens need to find a way to dump the whole congress. overpaid jerks both sides of the aisle. they have made a nightmare ,hollowen style of the word reform.reform of the healthcare system is a must but not 1990 pages that one must read in 72 hours I did not ralize that Nancy is a speed reader !

    October 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  200. T. G. from the virgin islands

    I guess Congress want to make sure that the majority of Americans get real health care without being ripped off by lobbyist, while at the same time, add some treats for their constiuents.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  201. Ahnald

    how do they get away with stupidity like 2000 page bills?
    For years now the
    Untited states has been a
    Known for
    Upon the indifference of it's

    October 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  202. Brian Smith PhD

    Jack you are absolutely correct. The government is indeed past the point of dysfunctional. The reason this bill is 2000 pages is because the law pimps tailor the laws for those who support the politicians. In effect they want to hide the corruption in the small print. What is the solution? More complicated laws preventing complicated laws? NOPE, simply, within the Constitution, get rid of unwanted influence in government. Starting with outlawing special interest groups, lobbyists, and influence power. Then move to strict term limits. Then move to reducing campaign contributions

    October 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  203. Terry

    If there were only one party, it would take just one sentence to define health care.

    If it was the Democratic party, the sentence would be:

    "All U.S. Citizens have a right to health care, and if quality, affordable care cannot be obtained through private insurers, then the government will provide it."

    If the Republicans were the only party, the sentence would be:

    "All U.S. citizens have a right to try and obtain health care in the market place, but no guarantees."

    Because we have two parties, it takes 2,000 pages of word games to get a compromised bill passed.


    October 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  204. weptiger

    Write your congressman expressing your desire that he/she vote no on this bill.

    You get, in congressional representation, what you vote for. People foolishly bought this load of crap last fall. Despite indications of shift in public sentiment relative to this bill, these guys in congress are in a mad dash to cram this thing through. The more junk they put into it, the easier it is to hide their true intentions. Everything but the kitchen sink is being thrown into the bill in the hopes that something sticks.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  205. Roger

    2000 pages are required to include all the wishes of the lobbyists and special interest groups. Probibly the only page for the American public is the cover page.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  206. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    Because the lobbyists own every congress person.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  207. Angela

    If the bill wasn't this large, we would all be asking why and what was left out and where are the loopholes that have not been addressed. Over the years ammendments have been made to social security, health care and the medicare bills that are currently in effect. It is this large because as much of the critics' issues have been addressed, to mitigate the level of misinformation that the critics will try to put out there.
    If the critics really want to make a difference, they have had enough time to draft a bill of their own that could have been proferred for review. Their grandstanding is not getting the American public closer to the desired health care coverage that we have needed for a long time.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  208. steve4591

    Personally, I don't care how long the bill is. If we don't fix our health care system now then America's future will be just as bleak as it is now.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  209. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    I heard recently that today there are 4 lobbyists for every Representative.

    That's about right, each lobbyist got their own page. And that's how we got 2000 pages.

    Simple math Jack.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  210. Anna in Chicago

    Because there are so many crooks to proteckt. If this was bill to fund crooks it would be written on 1 page. We had that for bailout for the bankers.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  211. Paul from Canada

    One reason would likely be to try and close loopholes. Those holding power and money will dig and dig to circumvent any system and ambiguity is the enemy. Its just a symptom of the times we lives, simplicity isn't possible.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  212. Michael in Albuquerque

    2000 pages. Jack, you need to quit exaggerating, it's only 1990 pages.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  213. Angie

    I don't know why it takes 2,000 pages to say something simple. But I'll bet my home made cinnamon sugar cookies that if those pages were translated into simple modern day English, it would be cut down to maybe 200 pages.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  214. judy Best

    because Jack, most politicians today are more worried about satisfying each congressman's self interests rather than serving the people....this isn't about politics, this is about bettering the lives of most of the citizens of the country, something I think that they have completely lost sight of....and as far as Pelosi and Reid are concerned, they only open their mouths to change feet !!!!!!
    Peterborough, Canada

    October 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  215. sivaram,boston

    Hi mr cafferty,
    I think Nancy Polosi is still short of 234 pages.still room for adding amendments in the health care reform.
    total senators 100 (4 pages each)= 400 pages
    total congressmen 456 (4 pages each)=1824 pages
    grand total= 2224 pages.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  216. Chris

    Because it's that messed up!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  217. Karin

    Jack, in a nutshell Lawyers. That is the sum and substance as to why there need be 2000 pages. These law students write these bills as way to create litigation by means of the travels through the court system so that sometime or another some portion will end up at the Supreme Court.

    Lawyers are the reason because lawyers make the real money and have the real power, not the people.

    I agree with you it is ludicrous to have that many pages. The other reason so that congress can put as much pork into it for their districts as well.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  218. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Before voting no to the healthcare reform bill It would probably take a speed reader to cover 2,000 pages in 72 hours. Those who can't speed read and vote no, they are going to be "called out".

    October 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  219. jaime Greer

    The weight of a bills value is in content not in actual weight.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  220. James Richmond, VA

    Why does it take two thousand pages? Jack, I retrieved the House health bill and attempted to see where the antitrust exemption was removed. The bill mentions the McCarran-Ferguson Act and competition, but the language is so vague that I can’t summarize what it means. Perhaps it takes two thousand pages of convoluted words that can be interpreted to anyone’s advantage; thereby, possibly removing objections to the bill.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  221. Jeanne Toth

    Come on Jack. Today, when you get an explanation of benefits from your insurance company, you receive 3,4,5 or more pages. Everything is more "paper" complicated today. I do not like it, but do something. I wonder if Hillary had more success with her health care reforms way back when, would we be having as much infighting as we are having now. Well, the republicans would still be fighting. And you would think all of them would really want to help those who don't have the luxury health care plan they have.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  222. dwaine from michigan

    Hi Jack;
    You must not read the government handbook, 50 pages was the health bill and 1950 pages is Polosi & Reads personal PORK projects you know you scratch my back and I will sratch yours.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  223. Katja, Bradenton, Florida

    Because the Congress is full of a bunch of morons led my Madame Pelosi, our duly elected queen of the morons. What are they thinking in California???

    October 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  224. Joe

    Congress is totally out of touch with reality. It is time to return it to the peolpe. My solution would be get rid of career politicians and make Congress like Jury Duty. You go for a month, vote, and go back to your lives. Government by the people for the people. 1990 incomprehensible pages is INSANITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  225. Thorstan

    The government of this country is dysfunctional... Understatement of the century!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  226. Diane - St. Louis MO

    Hmmm...Jack, can you say "pull the wool over our eyes"?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  227. Joe Rogers from Annapolis, MD

    Why not check some other numbers, Jack? Population, miles of
    suitable roads, pages in the dictionaries, entries in a city phone
    directory for just a few examples. The numbers don't mean anything.
    The size of the problem(s) with current health care call for a
    larger document, so as to present reasonable solutions in order
    to solve the problems. Imagine a document that contains all the
    fear-based critiques and many times erroneous objections put
    forth by the critics who can't stand the idea of clearing up the
    health care mess the country has on its hands, how could you even
    guess how many pages that would take. Let the country unite,
    read the bill, pass it and start enjoying a better health care situation
    for millions of American citizens.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  228. RJ from Lake,MI

    The part that gets me is we are going to add close to 50 million more people basically to the welfare system and the democrates swear this will pay for itself. This aint April Fools Day! Everyone I know of thatr recieves government assistance(tax payer money) has a cell phone, computer with internet, designer clothes, smoke a pack of Marlboros a day, and spend the weekends getting drunk or high! Not a very effective way to spend my tax dollars, I could better use that money to better the life of MY family!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  229. Nancy

    Back in 1935 we probably did not have numerous lobbyists for each Senator and Representative in Washington. All the medical lobbyists have to push for their interests. Then the Tax Code was also much simpler. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that something on page 1011 contradicts something on page 1600. What a mess! We need a limit on pages in legislation. Any legislation more than 100 pages should be returned to committee for shortening. Later on amendments could be added, if found necessary after 1-2 years. Use the Constitution as a model of simplicity and brevity.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  230. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    I think we should have each bill handwritten like it was in the old days before computers and copy/paste. If the bill had to be written with a feather quill or even a fountain pen and then typed on a manual typewriter with no error correction, I guarantee it would be a lot shorter.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  231. Carole Varchal

    The bigger the bill the more need tor lawyers. Clearly this is why tort reform is one of the few things missing from the bill.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  232. Fran, Brimley, Michigan

    Are they using larger print so the opposition cant complain about not being able to read the fine print?????

    October 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  233. Rob Olsson, NJ.

    Jack, it comes down to the hole that we've let insurance companies ( and wall street big shots ) dig into capital hill. 2,000 page's seem very excessive but so do the strings these companies pull to rip off your everyday american. Last thing the house of representatives wants is insurance companies operating through a loophole.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  234. Tony

    There are a few reasons for the size of this bill. One is it is deliberately made very lenghty and complex so it is harder for everyone to understand. Two it includes a lot of items that are not related to health care reform so individual congress men/women will vote for it (pet projects). Three is has a lot of items intended to take control over our lives.

    This bill is so comprehensive that it covers what goes in vending machines and what can and can't be in a happy meal. See pages 1510 – 1516.

    This isn't health-care. This is total control of our lives.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  235. Sandra from North Carolina

    Who knows? Some in Congress don't participate in reform at all and some feel the need to cover all the bases. I think I would rather have the 2000 pages than nothing at all. Let's all hope that somewhere in that tomb is real health care reform and not more control for the insurance companies.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  236. Ted Greene

    Dear Jack

    You are Spot On regarding the "beyond dysfunctional government".
    I have written you a lot of nasty email prior for your comments, I'm very happy to see you now this greedy, power lust in Washington.

    I believe the entire Congress and Obama administration should be literally kicked out and replaced by non-lawyer non elitist common American citizens, and start from the beginning. Undo the messes that have been made for the last 30 years, cut Gvt. , especially salaries of congress persons, number of staff and actually enforce the laws regarding bribery.

    Perhaps our founding fathers would see a sign of hope that our God Given Republic has a chance to survive.

    Thank you and God bless

    Ted Greene and family

    October 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  237. Habib from new Orleans

    Jack I believe we are working against global warming. 2000 pages We should call algore to talk to them.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  238. Margie Holmes

    Hey Jack,

    Thks for the laugh regarding the "note to Pelosi it's our White House!!

    It was GREAT!!!!
    Margie H.
    Queen Creek, Az.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  239. John, CA.

    2000 Pages for a Health-Care Bill it sound like the Dem 's put a lot of pork in this bill and the the business roundtable must be hating this bill!

    John, CA.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  240. Jay Berlye

    Jack be serious, the forestry industry has lobbyists too. It took twenty trees to produce 2000 pages. Why shouldn't they get their piece of the pie every body else seems to profit on the health and well being of the American citizen. This is the best Congress can do to placate their corporate sponsors. There must be enough loop holes to make Dunkin Donuts envious.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  241. Karl from SF, CA

    The key words are “create” and “reform”. It doesn’t take near as much paper to create a program from scratch as it does to reform a corrupt corporate system. I can’t wait to see how many pages it will take to reform the banking system, if they ever do it.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  242. Stefan

    Follow the money Jack and you will find ten lobbyists for every page of the document. United States need a fundamental political reform before any health care or financial reform. Get the lobbyists out of the picture, make it illegal to influence decisions in Washington by pumping money in to the so called “campaign donations” and then you will start to see some results. Maybe then we will see a 10 pages bill for the health reform. By the way, health care shouldn’t be a profitable business anyway: is not moral, it’s against the Hippocratic Oath, it’s not even Christian.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  243. Paul Tolan

    Jack: I injoy your comments and your feelings about this great country!\I dont know how to stop the white house folks! We really are in a sad state !! Been there a long long time! Our reps were to be Bakers Bankers and Farmers and Candel Stick makers! What do we have now? The more I vote the worse it gets! I am inbaresed Jack! Tell me what to do to stop all this !
    Paul USMC 64-68

    October 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  244. willie Toronto

    Yes Jack, it has been 74 years since the 64-page social security act. But come to think of it, you americans have over that period of time created a tangle of legislative web for an inferior health care system , now you are shocked you need a 2000-page bill to untangle those georgian knots. You're lucky, you don't need 20,000 pages. Unless you want the Iranian armenajad to write it for you.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  245. Fred Castellow

    Jack, no mattere which side writes it, the other will fight it! They are too busy fighting each other, they dont have time to do their elected duty >

    October 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  246. Margie Holmes

    Hey Jack,

    Sooo many pages, Sooo little time!!!!

    Margie H.
    Queen Creek, Az.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  247. Carol

    If the rules, bylaws and legal documents of each insurance company were compiled and placed together, an entire room would not be enough space. Health care reform is a huge undertaking because of the myriad complications and loopholes designed by the legal counsels of all health care entities. In order to cover all aspects of this issue, I do not believe that 2,000 pages is a lot. However, we should all be able to view the bill with plenty of time to read it.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  248. Tom

    No lawyers allowed in government and we'll rebuild America.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  249. Birddog in Mississippi

    My daughter was born with hydroencephalitis. Next year, when she's 24, my plan won't cover her anymore. I don't really care how long the bill is, or whether Nancy Pelosi let in some folks who wanted to watch the 'unveiling' of the bill in publc instead of on tv. I just want the bill to pass.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  250. Gary

    First of all, those pages you complain about are triple-spaced at minimum. Less content than a typical paperback page. If I read one page per minute, which is entirely possible, even though I'm no speed reader and (I'm told) sub-vocalize way too much, it would only take me a little over eleven hours per day for three days to read the bill. Regardless, you should be comparing that bill with the tax code, or the military appropriations bills, not those simple, idealistic examples you provided. If you want a short health care reform bill, it will have to be for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  251. Willard Gatzke

    As the old saying goes

    "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull ****"

    Pretty much sums it up.

    Canon City, CO

    October 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  252. Dave Morgan

    Greetings Jack from the Northern Plains:
    Easiest answer to the difference between bills in a 1930's vs today......check the number of lawyers involved 1930's vs now--bet it's a comparible ratio!!!!! You can't change a roll of toilet paper in Washington these days without a half dozen legal eagles approving it!
    -Dave-,Huron, South Dakota

    October 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  253. B. Young

    Because Social Security is a joke and obviously being wasted because the correct legal language was not used to prevent loopholes and shameless abuse of the system.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  254. James Durham

    It is simple why they made it so huge, much like other bills are passed in today's government. Much like you find in your state govts. many people who are in the legislature body get certain tax breaks, or other little benefits whether it be a county, or a certain region. For example, Texas has some laws that were passed concerning finding treasure on their property. One of the exerpts roughly quoted in the middle of law that says " unless you found the treasure before a certain date you must pay a tax, unless you live in county X"
    So why make a health care reform so huge and largely unreadable to the average American....easy benefits towards those members in congress through those that support the plan, possbily lobbyists, or other small entities....
    The fact that they give such a short time to read it supports the fact on how they are trying to push a fast one over on the American populus. Any congressman/woman that was elected to their position has obiviously lost the sense on what it means to be in the position. Any major overhaul has been an easily read, for the most part, those listed above, so why hide the benefits that you are giving to your supporters through a needless and senseless overstated document that is meant to help the American people? Because I'm sure there are some lovely little loopholes that were told to their backers to help them out!

    As far as leaving the people that make this country great from the unvieling of the document just supports the ideal that these democrats in the congress obiviously didn't take constitutional law and forgot where they came from!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  255. Eric Keating

    Jack in the past Congress made law and regulation. Operational policy was made by the civil service in accordance with law and regulation. Nowadays we have congress legislating deeper and deeper into the process. Unfortunately Congress has ceded major responsibility for this depth to lobbyists for big insurance, big banks, big oil and so on. They generate the two thousand pages. The micro elements in the bill largely work to minimize and limit the law's effectiveness. In short, since the Regan years public service responsibility for public policy has been privatized. This is why we can't get a decent health system when 2/3 of the public want it and Washington is awash in Democrats.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  256. Kevin


    Healthcare is very complicated. Who cares how many pages the dam bill is, we just need to get it done.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  257. Ronald Holst

    Jack When You have every one adding amendments to to that is what you get . I bet you could write one in under fifty pages but We are not politicians . Witch I am real happy about because I do like you !
    Ronald Holst

    October 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  258. Diego Rivera

    well with all those pages ...Thanks God we trying to go green in this country.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  259. RJ from Lake,MI

    I would like to know who, what ,where told liberals that health care is a guaranteed right? Can someone answer that question!? There are no guarantees in life except the fact you will die and pay taxes, if you work!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  260. luci - Peoria, Il.

    They are getting right. Being thorough is what they need to do, if they made it one page, the republicans and media would say it wasn't long enough. You can't please everyone, so do the best you can. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. I only hope it passes with a public option. I will never vote for the party of NO. They act like they want the Insurance for all of us, but are lieing. They had 20 years out of the last 28 to get off their behinds and pass it. The party of NO.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  261. Becker in CA

    They have to hide all the earmarks. It also includes completely doing away with private insurance in 2012/2013. Anyone that saves the country from this wreck of a bill will receive my money.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  262. Joe

    How else are you going to include all the special interests?

    2,000 pages to produce a bill that doesn't provide health care coverage for everyone, doesn't significantly address rising health care costs, and doesn't do anything for anyone who needs help NOW except politicians who need their coffers filled for the upcoming 2010 elections.

    When are we going to hold these people accountable?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  263. Jeanne Toth

    Come on Jack. Today when you get an explanation of benefits today it is some times more than 3 or 4 pages.l Everything is more paper complicated. Too bad that Hillary didnot get a chance to get some of her health reforms in place. I wonder where we would be of she had been somewhat successful getting reforms passed.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  264. John, CA.

    The Congress should think about cutting some stuff out of this Bill so, main street can understand it and Jack is right, who can read 2000 pages in 3 days?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  265. R

    House Minority Leader John Boehner has never looked better peering from behind the 2000 pages of health care reform.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  266. Roland-St George,UT

    It has been so long since Washington has actually done anything of substance...I think that they think that a 2,000 page bill will give the (false) appearance of the men and women of the House/Senate having been busy night and day all these past months, feverishly sweating at the brow, working their fingers to the bone, belaboring every little point possible...all in the best interests of the American public...in the name of Health Reform. Not sure if I'm ready to give my personal thumbs up to the bill just yet until I know what's in it...but that's what I think those guys are up to anyway.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  267. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    Jack ….. It is the Law of Laws.

    Every law maker on Capital Hill feels it necessary to get their name on the bill or at least an amendment. (200 pages)

    Thousand of amendments are necessary to appease “the people back home” or all those “special interest” groups and don’t ever forget the political contributors. (800 pages)

    Every new law must reflect every interaction with existing laws. The new law must deliberately be inclusive of existing laws. (300 pages)

    All this and we haven’t discussed how it will be funded or the structure of the new organization. (600 pages)

    October 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  268. Dennis from Seattle

    You know why. all the legal jargon so no one can understand it and sue. They do that with all the bills. I challenge you to read one in it's entirety and understand it. Our Government has become a joke and has nothing to do with what people need or what the majority want.
    !,900 hundred pages, I can write the health care bill in one page. Health care for all, paid for the money spent on the wars we need to end.
    Not Socialism, just caring for each other, what a concept.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  269. John Papageorge

    Jack, If you've ever told a small lie, you realize that you must keep telling begger and begger lies. Is 1990 pages enough lies????

    October 30, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  270. Allen in Hartwell GA

    One word, Jack....lawyers.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  271. Kenneth Kohlmann

    Because of the animals There's pork, ham and bacon stuffed throughout the document. There's weasel words throughout. Theres the braying of the Democratic donkey There's bull spread throughout the docuement.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  272. David in Idaho

    You can't really believe it only took that many pages!
    As an example, the Constitution took 4 pages to create... with amendments to be added and we are still debating its intent to this very day...
    The amount of legal jargon in this bill is partially necessary to direct the HHS and state agencies how to implement the intent of Congress... or would you prefer unelected administrative officials to randomly choose how to implement this bill?
    Is the result of allowing money to be considered free speech part of this? Of Course... but don't insult our intelligence by trying to oversimplify complex issues... leave that to republicans.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  273. Michael Jones

    It takes more legalese to cover all the loopholes that modern day lawyers seek out to cheat and rip off the lower and middle class for the benefit of large and or greedy institutions, or those looking to bilk the system. If people were honest, it would take less to do the same job.
    The laws passed earlier in this country had to be followed up with reams of additional legislation to "cover" these loopholes in Social Security, Civil Rights, etc.
    Verbose does NOT mean unworkable.
    It protects us from loophole lawyers.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  274. Richard

    Creating something new is simple. Reforming a huge part of our overall economy is complicated. Should we realy want something short and sweet or a bill that covers all the necessary parts. This bill is between the House and 300,000,000 people. The last time we chose a new insurance policy the book to explain the options was 40 pages long and had a couple other sheets to explain how to use the book. This was between one company and two people
    Kansas City, Mo..

    October 30, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  275. marie heinemann

    The comment Pelosi made about who owns the White House, I was taught it was the AMERICAN PEOPLE. I will admit after listening to a few of her comments I have to pity the poor thing.
    THE Health Bill,just shows how little they think of the AMERICAN VOTER.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  276. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    Let me read it first and get back to you next year on the answer.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  277. RJ from Lake,MI

    Hey Jack, this aint the change I was looking for! The only difference between Republicans and Democrate is how they steal your money!

    October 30, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  278. David from LI,Ny

    The reason why the health care bill is 2,000 pages long, is because when congress is looking to take control of 1/6 of the American economy, creating a new governement bureaucracy,it in turn means multiple layers of rules, provisions and agencies. That increases the size of what should be a simple bill, into a bloated behemoth, wich gives government involvment in/possibly control of 1/6 of our economy. Most Americans will have no time to read this bill, which is the biggest offense to myself and to any person who demands better of government.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  279. Rob

    There are likely many good (and many not-so-good) reasons why it's so long. One key one, however, is that to the extent there are ambiguities and wide gaps in the bill, it falls to regulators or to the states to interpret the law's provisions once passed. Consider how much litigation the Civil Rights Act has spawned. That might or might not be the best way to flesh out the provisions of that law, but I think it's reasonable to suggest that it's Congress's prerogative to be comprehensive with respect to this law.

    And it's a good thing they're doing so, since there is every reason to believe that those opposed to providing health care to those who need it (!) will work to subvert the law where given the opportunity.

    You're more sophisticated than your question suggests, Jack. Here's a better question: Why are so many people opposed to having the government address a market failure (the massive uninsured population) on the premise that private industry will be crowded out, when as a definitional matter the term "market failure" means, among other things, that private industry can't or won't address the issue anyway?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  280. Anna, Missouri

    I know it is a great talking point, and a great way for pundits to question what Congress is doing, but the fact is that the difference is simply two words, "create" and "reform". When Congress "reforms" something that is already in the law books, it has to address many different laws and change many things within each of those laws, whereas, if it "creates" something new it doesn't have to do that. I realize that this doesn't make it nearly as interesting as it is to make an issue of the number of pages in a bill.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  281. Frank Cobb

    Jack I do not know why it takes 2000 pages to reform Health Care when i can di it in less then 1 Page. Tax every dollar traded on the NYSE .001 %. this will not only pay for universal health care. No one will miss it. The wealth, middle class nor the average U.S tax payer would be greatly affected. It would also pay for new and more sophisticated medical facilities. It could be used to pay for thousands of more Dr. to offset the large number of people getting care. Also if we change the antiquated way we keep medical records, from paper to automated, this would have millions of man hours freeing up health care worker to really perform the task of taking care of people. Also instead of fining individuals for not haveing health care insurance, fine them for not getting preventive medical care, which leads to catastorphic care. If we take my car in every 30 thousand miles preventive maitiance, why shouldn't we go to the Dr. 3 time a year for preventive care. So that we would not put the poor health care insurance companys out of business, pay them to streamline the system. EVERYBODY SHOUD BE HAPPY RIGHT?

    October 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  282. verna hensel Toronto Canada

    With all these pages it's easier to hide the pork barrel projects.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  283. Mike in Quebec

    Because Us government has become on of appeasement and not decisions. It's impossible to get anything done in the US without having to hear from absolutely everyone regardless if they know anything about what they are voting on.

    When the US government can bypass congress and make decisions it will be a happy day.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  284. Anthony


    It's not about the 2000 pages in the bill, it's about the thousands of people who need healthcare! Healthcare Reform is alot more complex than Social Security Program.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  285. Jack - Lancaster, OH


    The difference between 64 pages and 2000 pages shows the influence of governmental corruption is increasing by leaps and bounds. We are in the bounds stage. I was going to do the math but I know the current state of educational legislative improvements (also extra pages) has provided a population that cannot handle arithmetic, or fractions like 2000/64 ths. and what it means.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  286. EugeneWiese

    If the USA and the world were as simple as things were in 1965 the healthcare bill would probably be100 pages ,this is back to where everyonewould like to be.,especially,the magnolia sniffers,I was one in 1935,it was beautiful.Now,let's get back to reality(,I dislike reality shows ,for this very reason) the demographics today are extremely complicated. Fiction may be truer than nonfiction and too many people are unreal. Gene

    October 30, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  287. Frank Cobb ATL

    Stop complaining and offer solutions!! Tell Harry Reid to call me, I have the answer in less then one page

    October 30, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  288. Ken M, Millington MI.

    Hello Jack, I really don't know why it has to be so complicated and complex, all i really know is that i have a lot of friends and relatives who have NO HEALTH INS. leave it to congress both republicans and democrats to drop the ball on such a monumental need for the American people. How can anybody who protects or defends Health Ins Co sleep at night.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  289. Maria

    Well, there are far more people living in this country now than when SS was created. Far more who need help in proportion. And FDR and his staff were much smarter than curent administration. Back then 1 plus 1 actually equalled two. Now 1 plus 1 equals Pelosi and Boehner.



    October 30, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  290. Francisco Lopez

    The reason it takes over 2000 pages for Health Care Reform in the U.S. Congress because politicians like lawyers like to write a bunch of information to sound intelligent and confuse people at the same time. Nancy Pelosi thinks that writing a long proposal and giving just 72 hours to read it and prepare to vote on it will make it easier to pass, she is quite mistaken because it takes more than just three days to properly analize a bill to properly pass it.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  291. Denis Duffy

    It takes a lot more words in a document to bury the lies enclosed.

    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  292. george

    If it took 64 pages to create Social Security, why does it take 2,000 pages to reform health care? .............simple 99% of them are full of ear marks, pork spending, "back door" tax increases, "special interests" & other bs "pet" projects

    October 30, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  293. Marion/ Alabama

    1990 pages of legal garbage,so people will not be able to understand it.As it is written you can not possibly read it and understand what it really says in 72 hours.My Kid ask me the first time she went to vote about an amendment that we were to vote on. I told her if she read it and could not understand it than vote no. If they want you to vote yes, they will write it simple enough so you do not have to have a legal degree to understand what it says.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  294. Rosa Lake City. SC

    Jack i suspect the Reps. might have printed it out on more paper than it really needed. That seems to be their only concern.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  295. Rick from Florida

    It takes great skill to express an idea concisely. So 2,000 pages must say a lot about the level of skill found today in Congress.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  296. Chris in Florida

    Apparently, you did not read the Staples circular in the newspaper “Buy 1 ream of paper & get 3 FREE”

    October 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  297. Jonathan Germany

    The size simply reflects the explosion in population and how complex society and the health care system has become ever since those decades ago.
    In addition , this has to do with overhaul, and so it shouldn't be seen as a joke because the various intricacies of a system that has been in place for decades must be correctly and concisely considered.
    The introduction of something new or banning an existing practice may not require a complex framing.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  298. Mark Rogers


    You have stated the most honest accurate comment I have heard. "Our US government is broken!" We need government reform and health care reform. I have returned home to the US after 5 years abroad. I am saddened at the state of this country.

    I have worked for large companies 160k plus employees. When the companies get lethargic a broad sweep of employees are kicked out and new blood is brought in.

    Our government does not understand what is really happening in the US. They receive to much money etc. from lobbyists and want to keep everything as is (Wall Street and Large Corp. run). They receive the best health care, money to ensure they keep their jobs (re-elected) etc.

    The one thing that really bothers me is that outlets such as CNN, Michael Moore etc. are not calling for US people to protest! Most Americans are tired from work, turn on the TV and hope for the best! This is not enough! We need help to organize and take back our country.

    Why are we called a Superpower nation?

    Thank you,

    October 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  299. Kyle

    Health Care Reform as easy as 1, 2, 3...

    1. We take the 2,000 page bill plus all of its copies and recylce them into textbooks for students in high school and college.

    2. The Health and well-being of every single person is ensured no matter what through the so-called "public option" which will use taxes to provide state-of-the-art Health care services to any and all Citizens in need, but will not drains Americans' pockets due to the final step.

    3. The legistlation (which, considering ESPECIALLY the U.S. Constitution, should be no longer than a page or two) should be such that it is easily understood and sets a cap on the amount each person is taxable with no regard to finacial standing. As the Health of Americans in general improves, this allows the cost overall per capita to shrink substantially as more and more people live longer and medical advancements inevitably expand into unforeseen horizons.

    October 30, 2009 at 4:58 pm |