08/06/09 — How many pages is health care bill?

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How many pages is health care bill?

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on August 6, 2009 1:49 PM

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Frank Drohan examines the stack of paper -- two reams, 1,018 pages -- that represents America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, which is the Democrats' health care reform proposal.

Two reams of paper. One thousand and eighteen pages. Twelve thousand, two hundred and sixteen lines of text.

And that's not even the final version.

For 51 minutes Frank Drohan listened to his printer spit out pages, and at the end, he held in his hands the entire text of America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 -- the Democrats health care reform bill.

"It's pretty overwhelming," he said. "When I heard 1,018 pages, that didn't seem like a lot until I printed it off."

Drohan, president of Goeco Office Systems, self-employed for 35 years and a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran, explained that he printed the bill off on a whim -- that he had found a Web site with the bill's entire text on it and decided to take a look.

"Just curiosity," he said. "I wanted to know, and I think we all have the right, and should make an effort to know what's going on.

"I'm not protesting anything. I was just curious. Of the 1,018 pages, who's reading this? I bet Nancy Pelosi hasn't even read it. The congressmen and senators seem overwhelmed. You can see it in their faces. They look uninformed."

However, he said, he plans to "make an effort to skim through it."

"You hear very little about it. But all Americans should be informed and not just trust everything to people who say don't ask questions, we will guide you," he said. "The bureaucrats are civil servants, and as civil servants they work for us. We are their constituents and they're supposed to bring the information to us.

"I think everybody ought to have their personal copy -- take it home."

Already he has read about 50 pages, but so far, he said, it was the first page that gave him the most pause, where under the bill's number (H.R. 3200) and title, its purpose reads: "To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes."

"Affordable, quality health care -- OK. Reduce the growth in health care spending -- OK. But what are these other purposes?" Drohan said. "The biggest concern is who's going to pay for it? The middle class? The middle class is already paying for this car rebate. And how is it going to interfere with our daily life as far as health care goes in this country?"

To print off -- or simply read -- your own copy of the bill, visit www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text.