Health Reform Status Update

It's 2 a.m,, and you can't sleep. You've run through all the latest episodes of “The Daily Show” on the Comedy Central website. You've finished watching all the “30 Rock” episodes on Hulu. As the world sleeps, you desperately search for distraction from the lonely emptiness of graveyard shift wakefulness. You scan your friends' blogs, you check the weather, you pay some bills online, and you do everything you can to avoid the siren song of a certain social networking website that you're trying to quit.

But your resistance is ultimately futile, because you are an exhausted insomniac at your most vulnerable, and you eventually seek the sweet salve of Facebook company. You gingerly log on, scan the news feed, and check out some newly posted photos before noticing your own blank status bar. "I should really update this," you think to yourself.

So you begin composing your status update, mindful of your word choice. Keep it simple, you think. You try out several different angles, from honest statements like "awake and bored" to music-themed puns like "Haulin' Oats…" before settling on something you judge to be clever without trying too hard. But mere moments after clicking "share," you decide status updates are inherently lame and delete what you just wrote. Your status update bar remains blank, and you eventually make it to bed feeling ashamed and dehumanized by the whole ordeal.

Just admit it. You've been there. We've all been there. The challenge of navigating the social landmine of status updates has stumped even the best of us on occasion. Even if you're so cool (or so old) that you're not on Facebook, I bet you're still familiar with the task of balancing the need for self-disclosure with the need for not appearing pathetic.

Well, it turns out that composing a news brief on a story as monumental and widely covered as health reform can prove equally difficult. There's a need to take information that can be accessed via a multitude of alternative avenues and repackage it in some sort of clever or insightful way.

"Squeaked through the Senate and now on to conference committee!"

"New Year's Resolution: Make it to Obama's desk!"

"Lost the public option but gained Lieberman's vote!"

"2010: A Medicaid Odyssey!"

And so, dear Alibi readers, I challenge you to compose your own health reform status updates below. Here's the lowdown: A health reform bill cleared the Senate with 60 votes on Christmas Eve. The Senate bill now must be blended with the House bill in a special conference between the House and the Senate before it can go back to each chamber for final approval. This is expected to happen in January.

If each chamber approves the bill, it goes to Obama for a signature. The final version of the health care reform bill is expected to look more like the Senate version than the House version, since Senate "moderates" have made it perfectly clear that they won't approve any bill with a public option or additional spending. So put that it your status bars and update it. Good luck.