Opponents of health care reform have argued that the health care bill is simply too big and complicated to be understood, and thus shouldn’t be passed. House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) opined about the bill: “All you need to know is there are 1,990 pages. That should tell you everything.” Yesterday evening, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) took to the Senate floor and ridiculed this attack, pointing out that the health care bill has fewer words than a Harry Potter novel — and that reading legislation of that length shouldn’t be “too much to expect” of U.S. Senators:
WHITEHOUSE: If you look at the actual language that you would read if you were interested in the substance of the bill on the House side and do a word count on it, it has fewer words than a Harry Potter novel! I don’t think it is too much to expect that members of the Senate should be prepared to leaf through the equivalent of a Harry Potter novel when they are embarked as on as a significant of an effort as we are in reforming the health care system. I think it was about 256,000 words, if I’m not mistaken. It’s smaller print, admittedly, than a Harry Potter book because of the way in which the bill is transmitted in its traditional format is very few words per page. So it looks big, and one can make very entertaining demonstrations with it on the floor.