Memo to Republicans: You can stop talking about the Democrats' thousand-page health care bill. You can start talking about the Democrats' two-thousand page health care bill. Breaking previous records in the health care sweepstakes, the new House bill introduced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning is 1,990 pages long.
UPDATE 1: The conservative Americans for Tax Reform has released an instant word-count analysis of the bill. According to ATR, the word “tax” appears 87 times in the legislation. “Taxable” appears 62 times, “fee” appears 59 times, and “penalty” appears 113 times. The word “shall” appears 3,424 times.
UPDATE 2: Statement from President Obama on the unveiling of the 1,990-page proposal:
I congratulate the House of Representatives on the introduction of the Affordable Health Care for America Act, another critical milestone in the effort to reform our health care system.
This legislation is the product of unprecedented cooperation and countless hours of hard work by Speaker Pelosi, Chairmen Waxman, Rangel, and Miller, Congressman Dingell, and scores of House members who share my conviction that we can’t wait another year for health insurance reform. They have forged a strong consensus that represents a historic step forward.
The House legislation includes critical reforms to the insurance industry, so that Americans will no longer have to worry that they will be denied coverage, or that their coverage will be dropped or watered down when they need it most. I’m also pleased that the bill includes a public option offered in an exchange. As I’ve said throughout this process, a public option that competes with private insurers is the best way to ensure choice and competition that are so badly needed in today’s market. And the House bill clearly meets two of the fundamental criteria I have set out: it is fully paid for and will reduce the deficit in the long term.
While we know there will may more steps and much spirited debate before a bill reaches my desk, I congratulate the House on their work so far, and I’m confident that members will continue to work together to deliver meaningful reform for America’s families and businesses.