Monday, December 24, 2012

Could be the Season?

'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through states
compromise failing and we seem doomed to our fates
The attention was focused on a cliff, we all knew
In hopes of compromise, the members worked through

The nation was coasting, with Christmas in sight
The machinations of Washington just not our plight
And the battle lines drawn, and our own travels to roam
We all settled our brains and left the office for home

When up in D.C. there arose such a clatter
Our LinkedIn alerts announced the grand matter
Away to the Internet we flew like a flash
Looked up the news, and wondered at the brash

The atmosphere in DC has given all doubt
Many think anymore they can work nothing out
But what to our wondering eyes should appear
The Senate and House brought us a gift this year

A singular bill, which means nothing to some
But to others it implicates all that is done
The SMART Act affects all who would compromise their case
The bureaucracy and red tape have hindered their pace

With a wicked slow process, and ambiguous drive
The MSA rules frustrated the injured and their lives
Their cases they languished, awaiting MSA consideration
Their lives on hold awaiting prognostication

On Murphy, on Kind, on House and on Senate
For Christmas, for New Years, Could they really pass it?
From chamber to chamber, from caucus to committee
They called the bill out, and voila! Equanimity!

An then in a twinkling, they passed the SMART act
A simple bipartisan effort which will facilitate a pact
A blessing to all, whether claimant or defense
The simplification of settlements is no simple pretense
There is much to be done in this country, with laws and with bills
The passage of SMART does not cure all our ills
But this SMART bill effort does prove, quiet effectively
Both sides can work together when they wish, definitely!

The headlines have described conflict in Washington these many months. It has been said that Congress could not agree to anything. Confronted with a calendar as proof, some believe they would nonetheless debate what day it is. Perhaps this remains true with some subjects, but Christmas 2012 will long be remembered for a slight but critical thaw in the Capitol.

I was surprised when the House of Representatives passed the SMART act, H.R. 1845. This occurred December 19, 2012. This bill is intended to return a modicum of sanity to the Medicare Secondary Payer Act. The success was a pleasant surprise. The margin, 401 to 3, was simply astounding. In the current political climate, it is heartening to see such a margin of agreement on such an important topic. Certainly, such progress was to be celebrated. I remember wondering on the 19th if this could be just more of the same from Washington, a token passage upon which one chamber might celebrate.

December 22, however, brought more astounding news. The Senate also passed the SMART act, and not to be outdone in demonstrating bipartisanship, the Senate vote was unanimous. Although there had been rumors that the SMART act was making progress, whisperings that there was real hope of passage, too many have become too jaded to accept that this was really a potential. Representatives Murphy and Kind, and frankly all of their peers in both chambers, deserve a congratulations and "well done."
Truly a Christmas miracle to see the partisanship set briefly aside. It is hoped that this effort will bring some much needed reform to the MSA approval process. Time-lines should shorten, and claim closure may perhaps become a bit less stressful for all involved.

1 comment:

  1. This is better prose than our electorate deserves! In our leaders, we got what we deserve; but in the appointed Judge Lanham we got much better than we deserved: in fact, the qualities he brings to the table are confounding: how did we acquire a practical minded, innovative, forward thinking, conservative but fair minded renaissance man?