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1,018 Pages of Health Care Reform - Dig in!

July 15, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

As we reported yesterday, House Democrats have officially introduced their health care reform bill, the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, which will begin to be marked up by the committees with jurisdiction over it today.

We now have the full text, and unlike some recent legislation rushed through Congress, with this bill we have at least a week or so to try to understand what’s in it. The text of the bill will change somewhat as it goes through the committee process, but the vast majority of it will stay the same. And for the sections of the bill that do get changed, it’s important that we start to understand them now so we can have an idea of what’s going on when things start happening to them.

Dig in!

Our bill text viewer lets you make permalinks to specific sections of the text so you can write about them in detail on your blog or elsewhere. A couple great examples of constructive legislative analysis using our permalinking tool, both on the cap and trade bill, can be seen from Pat Austin on the And So it Goes in Shreveport blog and Jimmie Bise at the American Issues Project blog.

You can also leave comments in-line on specific sections of the bill. This lets you build a discussion about the bill that is grounded, not in rumor, but in the actual legislative text. A great example of this can be seen on the hate crime bill.

Let us know what you find. You can leave links to specific sections of the bill in this comments to this post, leave comments on the bill text, or email me at donny at opencongress dot org with your blog post examining the bill text and I’ll post it to this blog. Happy digging!

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  • donnyshaw 07/15/2009 10:57am

    Here’s an important bit –


    This sections explains that individuals who do not get health insurance, either through their job, the government, or purchased on their own, will be charged a tax proportionate to the amount of the year they go uninsured. The tax for a full year without insurance would be equal to the lesser of 2.5% of your income or the cost of a typical insurance plan.

  • Comm_reply
    donnyshaw 07/15/2009 11:13am

    re: the tax explained above, looks like the only way to escape it (besides being insured) is to claim a “religious conscience objection”:

    ‘(A) IN GENERAL- Subsection (a) shall not apply to any individual (and any qualifying child residing with such individual) for any period if such individual has in effect an exemption which certifies that such individual is a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof described in section 1402(g)(1) and an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division as described in such section.

    More info on what religious sects are eligible for the exemption can be found in the tax code (in section 1402(g)(1) referred to above. At the link below, scroll down to (g):——000-.html

  • Anonymous 07/16/2009 5:43am


  • Moderated Comment

  • Moderated Comment

  • Anonymous 08/01/2009 8:20am

    This bill is an abomination. It’s a sell-out to the insurance companies, designed
    to fool the public into thinking it’s governmnet health insurance. It’s almost
    like medicare Part D, a government program in name only. It’s a lot of rules and
    regulations that no one can remember and that won’t be enforced half the time.

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