After months of behind-the-scenes negotiation, Congressman Bacchus (I-Rome) unveiled a massive health care bill. The CBO reports that the bill could cost the government almost 50,000 denarii, although Bacchus himself puts the estimate at closer to 60,000. The ancient Roman deity, a strong supporter of both farm subsidies and grants for the performing arts, decided to enter the arena of the health care debate in recent months despite his preference for nonstop binge drinking over legislating.
The proposed bill includes several controversial measures, including federal funding for drunken orgies, mandatory attendance at ritual sacrifices under moonlit skies, and health insurance exchanges intended to lower the overall cost of care. Some Democrats are disappointed by the lack of a public option, but a Bacchus aide told The Spoof "They'll get over it when they see the budget allocation for wine-soaked celebrations of the equinoxes."
Critics of the proposal have called it another example of the recent trend toward wasteful federal spending. Bacchus addressed his critics directly in a press conference yesterday.
"The only thing wasteful about this bill is that we're spending so much time talking and debating when we should be feasting and making merry!" he said, clad in a thin white toga and wearing a crown made of grapevines. He then proceeded to drink deeply from the large goblet he held, spilling dark wine over himself and the podium before heading to the vomitorium.
"This is a bold move for Mr. Bacchus. Some have even called it crazy," said The Spoof's political analyst James Marville. "But then again, he is the god of madness and ecstasy, so perhaps it isn't all that surprising."
Bacchus, an influential member of Congress, was cited as being the influence behind President Obama's decision to hold a "beer summit." White House aides noted that "We had originally thought we would just ignore the issue and hope it went away. Turns out, alcohol really does make everything better!"
Opposition to the bill is expected to be minimal, after events yesterday when Congressman Wilson attempted to subdue the god of wine with a rope, hoping that the legislation would fail if he was not present to argue for it. Unfortunately for Mr. Wilson, no rope was able to contain the Roman god, who in his anger caused a large bear to appear and eat the helpless congressman.