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“We Have to Pass the Bill So You Can Find Out What’s In It”

Like a lot of people, during the debate over Obamacare, I struggled to keep up with what was in the various different versions and forms of the bill that were being debated. Included in “a lot of people” were apparently most members of Congress, especially Nancy Pelosi, who famously quipped (apparently without a hint of irony) that “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.”

Today, completely out of the blue two weeks before election day, I got an email from the HR coordinator at my work that pursuant to IRS ruling sparked by Obamacare, over-the-counter drugs will no longer be covered under FSAs and HSAs, which almost everyone at my work has. Now, it turns out that a lot of policy-wonkish people were paying attention to this issue during the Obamacare debate (see here, here, here, and here). I have to tell you, though, that although I am a fairly plugged-in guy, I had no idea this was coming at all until I got the notice from my work.

I wonder how many other people are going to be finding out in the last couple weeks before the election other delightful tidbits like this. Ideally, of course, this is the sort of thing that would have been subjected to a more careful analysis and debate, but in Nancy Pelosi’s judgment, it was better for Congress just to pass the damn bill and let people find out the hard way. Presumably, that’s at least more entertaining at least for the Democrats who passed the bill without reading it themselves.

Ben Domenech interviewed Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA) today and asked him about this very issue. You can download the podcast here; it’s worth a listen. Then, when you go to the polls 18 days from now, remember to ask your coworkers whether they would prefer that Congress be controlled by people like Nancy Pelosi, who think it’s a good idea to pass bills so we can find out what’s in them like this, or people like Paul Broun.

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