Where can I get more information about the U.S. health care reform bill?
August 18, 2009 8:38 AM   Subscribe

I've been reading a lot of conflicting information about the U.S. health care reform bill (HR 3200) and its potential impact on different groups of Americans. I tried to read the bill, but it's over a thousand pages and is written in mind-numbing legalese. Is there a place online where I can find comprehensive, non-partisan, easily understandable information about the bill?
posted by zembla3 to Law & Government (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
You should take a good look around OpenCongress.org's H.R.3200 page. OpenCongress is a great resource in general for distiling the essence of legislation on the table. Click 'official summary' to get a dramatically shortened and simplified view of what's going on. You can also compare and contrast different versions of the texts and read/add comments on each provision here.

Factcheck.org doesn't have a single page about the bill, but about half of the site right now seems to be about debunking health care.
posted by Muffpub at 8:45 AM on August 18, 2009

oops, there's only one version of the text right now since the Senate's committees are still marking theirs up. sorry.
posted by Muffpub at 8:47 AM on August 18, 2009

I'm not sure if you can call it non-partisan, but RealityCheck is meant to be exactly what you're looking for.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:47 AM on August 18, 2009

Well, to start with, there are three bills - one from three committees in the House, one from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, and a bill that's still being written by the Senate Finance Committee. HR 3200 is the House bill, but since the House will pass reform easily, the action is really in the Senate, where it will not pass so easily (if at all). If you'd like to learn more about whatever bill will end up passing, the (unfinished) Finance bill is where you want to look, but since it's not finished you have to rely on prognostications from journalists and bloggers if you want to follow along.

The problem with your "non-partisan" qualifier is that pretty much everyone writing honest, informed stories about health reform are liberals. One mainstream journalist I've read who's doing a good job on this is David Leonhardt at the NYT.
posted by downing street memo at 8:59 AM on August 18, 2009

You can look at this side-by-side, or you can select different issues to see how each bill would address that issue (or if it does).

The usual disclaimer (I swear I'm going to make a macro of this one of these days): I work for this organization but I don't write or research for it and have nothing to do with the policy end of things.
posted by rtha at 9:22 AM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]

Damn, rtha beat me to the Kaiser Family Foundation's excellent resource on this. It's terrific.
posted by notyou at 10:00 AM on August 18, 2009

I beat you to it, notyou, only because I live this hideous debate every day. I cannot escape it. My partner is also a health policy person - not at KFF - and health policy is what I talk about and hear about at work and at home. I try to stay out of the shitstorms in the blue, but the gravitational pull is too strong. If I have any hair left at the end of this Congressional session it will all be grey.

On an answer-the-question note, KFF tries really hard and pretty much succeeds (as far as I can tell) at being non-partisan. It's a very just-the-facts-ma'am sort of place when it comes to publishing data, and the side-by-side is updated whenever there are changes to the proposals. Poke around in the health reform subsite on kff.org and you'll find lots of info.
posted by rtha at 10:25 AM on August 18, 2009

This is the clearest, simplest summary I've seen:

It includes a bullet-point summary of the House and Senate bills, as well as a discussion of the controversial points of the legislation and a list of questions that are still largely open to debate.
posted by sashapearl at 5:48 PM on August 18, 2009

i read the politifact article the other day and i was suspicious that it included text regarding required health insurance ("an individual mandate", similar to massachusetts) that i have not been able to find confirmation of elsewhere.
posted by noloveforned at 7:56 PM on August 18, 2009

The individual mandate is certainly in the House bill available at OpenCongress, noloveforned. (Title III Subtitle A: individual responsibility). If you do not have health insurance, and earn over a certain amount, you will pay an extra tax up to the amount of the average cost of health insurance.
posted by jacalata at 10:46 PM on August 18, 2009

Dennis Moore's page has a summary of H.R. 3200, a section by section analysis of the bill and a Myth vs. Fact document.
posted by cog_nate at 12:49 PM on August 27, 2009

Oh, and there's a PDF of links to organizations that supply purportedly non-partisan information on health care reform (haven't checked out the sources myself, so I won't vouch for them).
posted by cog_nate at 12:52 PM on August 27, 2009

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