A Great Site for Understanding the Affordable Care Act
As I'm sure you've heard, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that the Affordable Care Act, which some people call "Obamacare," is constitutional. This is one of the most highly anticipated rulings the court has made in years and affects many areas of healthcare.
Some people are thrilled about the ruling and some are peeved if not enraged. Then there are the people who don't care either way or who don't even know about the ruling. Among all these groups are people who haven't read a single word of the Affordable Care Act. Now, we can't expect that every U.S. adult is going to read the flipping thing. After all, it's 974 pages and includes coma-inducing prose. For instance, "A teaching health center may only receive payment in a cost reporting period for a number of such resident positions that is greater than the base level of primary care resident positions, as determined by the Secretary. For purposes of this subparagraph, the ‘base level of primary care residents’ for a teaching health center is the level of such residents as of a base period."
I mean, the table of contents alone is 18 pages. Eighteen pages! I've skimmed the ACA and can attest to the fact that it's a stunning use of legal jargon. It doesn't need to be read in order to understand the impact the ACA is going to have now that it has the green light from the highest court in the land. However, taking at least a glance is advisable. The ACA is available in several places, including here. The file is big but downloads quickly.
Probably the best place to visit if you'd like to understand the ACA better, is a federal site called HealthCare.gov, which has a section in a top tab called, "The Health Care Law & You." It's very user friendly, and was surely written by people totally different than the Cyborgs, I mean, people, who wrote the language behind the ACA. I'm talking about two groups of people so different that if they met in a room they'd draw a line down the middle and just stare at each other like scientists watching lab rats.
No offense to the ACA authors though. It takes all kinds to make the world go round, even cyborgs. After all, if the world did stop spinning, who better to fix it than a genius robot? Laws probably do have to sound like tax code instead of, "Hello American! In this part of the law, which you'll note is written in the fun shade of fluorescent green, you'll learn exactly how this healthcare act will affect you if you have a pre-existing condition."
The "Health Care Law & You" site is broken into the following categories:
"Key Features of the Law"
Read this section to learn more about your rights and protections, insurance choices, and insurance costs. Get information on important benefits and programs available to seniors and small businesses.
Timeline: What’s Changing and When
The healthcare law puts in place reforms that will roll out through 2014 and beyond. Use the timeline or a printable list of key features in chronological order to learn what’s changing and when.
Information for You
Use this section to learn how the law helps different groups of people from young adults to seniors and pregnant women to families with children. Find audience-specific resources, videos, and top things to know.
Find out how the healthcare law is being carried out across the country. Find links to regulations, authorities, grants, letters, reports, and other information related to the Affordable Care Act."
Accessible, practical content in simple language. Now there are your tax dollars at work. Whether the ACA is also a good example of tax dollars at work, is a matter of opinion, and we'll have a better idea after visiting the aforementioned site. Sure, there's lots of information, but it's in far fewer than 974 pages.