For all the clamor over senators "read the bill" that we've heard this summer, Slate's John Dickerson has an argument against reading the bill: senators have staffs to do that for them, like homebuyers use lawyers to review final contracts, so they can focus on the big picture. And just because they read it doesn't mean they understand it.
All this is set against the backdrop of Senate Finance Committee controversy over whether to consider Chairman Max Baucus's (D-MT) bill in plain-language form (as is customary) or in the final legalese, the generation of which could take several weeks and set back the committee's proceedings.
Dickerson likes the plain-language option; Republicans on the committee don't.
I have read legislation before, and I can say, from personal experience, that I do not envy the people--be it senators or their staffers--who go through the final 1,000 pages. And if a comprehensive health reform package proves too controversial for the legislative branch to agree on, perhaps the White House can walk away with a victory by passing an executive summary.