Know Who is Lying and Who is Telling the Truth

By Kim Lehman

You do not have to be a lawyer or a representative to understand how to read the law or a bill. However, it will take a little time, and, if the bill is in effect attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of the public, so to speak, then it will take an understanding of how to read and filter through the terms. Here are a few basic rules to apply when reading a bill or law, especially the Health Care Reform and the Cap and Trade bills. Once you have read these tips, try applying them while reading HR 3200, the 4-inch-thick Health Care Reform bill (link to this at the end).

First, think of a bill like a jigsaw puzzle with a set of rules at the beginning. Take into account that the title of the bill may be completely misleading as to the content and function. In some cases the title of the bill is pure propaganda. Second, the rules of the bill are within the definitions which come right after the title. The definitions are the key to understanding the real meaning of the defined terms or phrases (emphasis added). A bill has the power to “create” a meaning that is not normal under typical speech. For instance, if the bill says that “private providers” means government-controlled providers, then every time you read the words “private providers” in the bill, the meaning would then be “government-controlled providers”. This is just an example of how they can change a meaning. In addition to the importance of the definitions, there are terms in current law that contain definitions which are applied to the bill.  This would be true for the Health Care Reform bill.  In section 121 p. 27 the bill describes the "minimum" services to include "Outpatient hospital and outpatient clinic, including emergency department services."  Who do you think this applies to?  None other then Planned Parenthood.  The bill doesn’t  have to explicitly state that it "includes" abortion services if the bill requires that a "type" of services provider and all of their servic es are included.

Let’s keep going.

Once you have learned the meaning of “their” definitions, you will also need to pay attention to the words, “may”, “shall”, and “must”. When the word “shall” or “must” is used, it is what we would call a mandate. “Must” and “shall” are telling us that it is not an option. However, when the word “may” is used it is allowing for an option.

Finally, as you read the bill and run into a reference to another section in the bill or current law, you will have to go directly to that section or that law referenced and read it with the section of the bill you are reviewing. Oh, and don’t forget to apply the definitions of terms in each bill.

This is how to solve the puzzle of reading a bill. There are a few other elements to consider that I have not mentioned, but this is a good start.

The puzzle of a bill isn’t impossible to put together. You do not have to be a lawyer or a lawmaker to figure it out, but it will take a little time and discipline to filter and understand the true purpose and meaning.

Why is it important that you know how to read a bill? Because when your congressional representative tells you that this bill (HR 3200) doesn’t say anything about abortion, they are either stupid or lying. Either answer makes them unqualified to be in office. The Health Care Reform bill forces taxpayers to fund groups like Planned Parenthood and their services of killing children in the womb. Look at pages 25-27 to see this and as a way to practice reading a bill. Good reading.

9 comments
  1. Quick note: The link to HR3200 provided from this website shows up in Acrobat Reader as “invalid: altered or corrupted since certified”.

    The bill posted at the US Government Printing Office (below) provides a valid certificate:
    http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h3200ih.txt.pdf

    You might want to reload the PDF if you serve it from the caffeinatedthoughts domain.

    The good news is that the bill is mostly double-spaced with narrow margins. It’s not like “War and Peace”. My one gripe is that being a PDF document, it would have been possible to create page links that make jumping to the references much easier (Save a tree: read online).

  2. I’m a programmer and see the nested loops in this bill. However, since I don’t get the lingo I’m wondering if anyone has connected the dots so that when you see Section A blah blah, you could click on it to see what it says. I know they think my code is unreadable, but I can’t seem to back up to find which Section A is being referred to.

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