Surprisingly, few people have read the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly referred to as Obamacare. Perhaps this is because the initial bill, enacted in 2010, clocked in at a whopping 2,700 pages.
In truth, this is not huge by congressional standards. Many bills, especially those of the scope of federal healthcare reform, are quite lengthy. However, the Affordable Care Act, is large to begin with. It grew by an incredible margin following passage of the law thanks to thousands of pages of amendments and further regulations.
Today the law numbers roughly around 20,000 pages, although there is some contention about this. Some people feel this number is too high because pages containing proposed regulations should not count. Yet, others think the number is too low. This is because many pages have smaller than average font, and should therefore count as more pages.
Still, there is no denying that the legislation involved is excessive, to say the least. Yet, it is available for public consumption. Just like any other law, it is for anyone interested in reading it.
Where can you find a copy? Here are a few options to consider.
All U.S. laws become part of the Code of Laws of the United States of American (also called the U.S. Code). They publish the main edition every six years, with cumulative supplements published annually. Copies are kept in the National Archives and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. They are also available online through these organizations.
Hard copies and copies on CD-ROM can also be ordered through the U.S. Government Bookstore (bookstore.gpo.gov). The last main edition of the U.S. Code was published in 2012. It is important to note that the current U.S. Code contains 51 titles. In turn, looking online for digital copies of specific laws is almost certainly more convenient and efficient.
There are several places online where you can download digital copies of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, either in part or in its entirety. HealthCare.gov, for example, offers PDF versions that include the Affordable Care Act, the Reconciliation Act, or the Full Text of the Affordable Care Act and Reconciliation Act. They also provide the first two, along with summaries, in HTML format.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.gov) provides brief outlines of each section of the law, along with PDFs. The text of the original bill passed by Congress and approved by President Obama in 2010, HR 3590, are found, along with other congressional bills, at govtrack.us, including a summary and a downloadable PDF (although subsequent additions are not included).
Believe it or not, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is available to order through Amazon, whether you’re seeking a paperback or digital copy. You can download the Kindle version of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for $0.99 or order a paperback copy for $22.99 new (or less for used copies). The text includes not only the bill passed in 2010, but also the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.