Let’s read the Affordable Care Act!
by Franklin Clark, Reporter -- fclark@cadizrecord.com
Jul 11, 2012 | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
download Affordable Care Act (full text)
Even if you just burrowed out from under a rock, you’ve probably already heard about the Supreme Court’s recent ruling about the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Partisan tomes have been written about this law, and a significant portion of what’s in those tomes is not correct. I’m not talking about any moral, ethical or philosophical arguments against the law, which needn’t be dealt with here. I’m saying that much, if not most, of what has been written is literally, factually incorrect.

I’m really not a fan of the mandate, by the way. But I do some of what the law does. But I digress.

One of the claims I’ve heard most frequently is that the law will require 10-16,000 new Internal Revenue Service agents, or alternately will empower 16,000 existing IRS agents to enforce the mandate.

The agency probably will need more agents, but there’s no way to know for sure how many. But the law does not specifically call for any specific number of agents.

There’s also nothing in the law that calls for “death panels,” and how that claim spread so easily without any evidence for its existence I will never understand.

I also keep hearing that the President and Congress are exempt from the bill. But starting in 2014, they will be required to purchase health insurance along with other Americans. Whether being required to purchase health insurance is a good or a bad thing is entirely up to you.

Now, some will argue that the law is too long for anyone to have read. It’s roughly 2,000 pages, but it’s in very large print, double-spaced and has very wide margins. And besides, children are able to read 700-page Harry Potter novels, so our lawmakers have no excuses for not having read it.

I’ll grant that the law is not exactly a page-turner. But reading bills is, or should be, a large part of any lawmaker’s job. That’s literally the biggest part of the job.

Really, it’s important to at least attempt to read and/or listen to something before you’ve decided whether you agree or disagree with it. It’s always best to get it from the horse’s mouth first, because someone’s interpretation might not accurately reflect what was actually said or written, by accident or on purpose.

A lot people, for example, took issue with what Sandra Fluke said, based solely on the interpretations they heard from radio shock jocks. Any transcript of her testimony (which was about insurance covering birth control, which her friends needed for medical reasons) would show that those shock jocks were living in an alternate universe, like the one from the “Mirror, Mirror” episode of “Star Trek.”

And don’t just take my word on any of this. Copies of the law are available online, and although it’s a long one, it’s not impossible to get through. A copy will be available on the online version of this editorial. Cheers!

Franklin Clark is a reporter for the Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at fclark@cadizrecord.com.
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