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An Actor Reads Health Care Bill

: a Shakespearean actor.

Floyd King of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. typically breathes dramatic life into Elizabethan prose. And Floyd King, how would you tackle, say, this list of medical terms from page 24 of the Senate bill?

M: Well, if I was a Shakespearean actor, which I am, I would say it this way: The medical terms described in this paragraph are hospitalization, hospital outpatient care, emergency room care, physician services, prescription drug coverage, durable medical equipment, but of course if I did it that way it would...

: Could be pretty intense.

M: Days.

: Yes, this could go on forever. So, some other ways that Senator Coburn might get into a different character.

M: Well, I might read it as W.C. Fields. The medical terms described in this paragraph are hospitalization, hospitalization outpatient care, emergency room care, physician services, prescription drug coverage, durable medical equipment, home health care, et cetera.

: In filibusters in the past, people read from the phone book on the floor of the Senate.

M: I think the phone book would be easier. There are funny names in the phone book.

: Not in - not in this bill.

M: This just - I don't see any funny words here. I see some very serious words.

: Yeah.

M: And this, of course, is to be taken seriously, but when you're reading something of 2,074 pages and you want people to hear it all, I think you have to use some variety. You might read it this way: The medical terms described in this paragraph are hospitalization, hospital outpatient care, emergency room care, physician services, prescription drug coverage, durable medical care, home health care, you got it? Yeah.

: The virtue of that is if Senator Coburn could find three other senators to join him, they could each do a different Marx brother.

M: I can also do it as Harpo.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: Floyd King with some possible techniques for reading from the Senate health care bill, if - should Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma decide to actually do it. Thank you very much for talking with us today and playing along.

M: Thank you. It was great fun.

: Floyd King, who's a member of the Shakespeare Theatre Company based here in Washington, D.C. currently plays Touchstone, a clown, in their production of "As You Like It." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.