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Dr. Bill's Commentaries

A website for all of US   (March 6, 2011)

As everyone knows who reads newspaper editorials or who listens to politicians and talk-radio hosts as they rant and rave, the United States has a new health care financing law. It's expensive, comprehensive, and contains numerous reforms that will roll out over the next few years. It has been derided, maligned, and scorned by some, and warmly praised by others. It inevitably will become part of the 2012 presidential election debate, and possible changes -- and even repeal -- will be hotly debated by every politician running for governor and every presidential candidate.

For those of us who are more interested in the facts about the new law rather than political rhetoric, a coalition of healthcare and other organizations has launched a new website that you should be aware of. Eight organizations, representing consumers, patients, healthcare professionals, and hospitals have created as a nonpartisan, and unbiased resource to help understand the new U.S. health care law and how it affects us.

The eight organizations, which have formed a "Health Care and You Coalition," are AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network, the American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, Catholic Health Association, and the National Community Pharmacists Association. They promise to "continuously update as the law is implemented and changes take effect. The member groups each will be engaging in sustained efforts to make consumers, patients and health care across the country aware of the site. The groups also will continue to educate Americans about the health care law through state-level outreach to their members, presentations at regional and local events and other ongoing activities."

"" is ungainly for the name of a website (why not simply call it "Health Care and You" without the .org?), but the content is extremely helpful:

* There's an Implementation Timeline webpage that indicates when the various portions of the new law are scheduled to become active.

* There are state-by-state breakdowns of how the law will be implemented, and the chance to sign up for state e-mail updates.

* The search engine is helpful. For instance, you can search on a partial word (such as "diabet"). Searching for diabet found 62 webpages (many of which sadly merely contain the phrase "such as asthma or diabetes").

* The website has a glossary of the inevitable insurance and bureaucratic terms.

One major missing piece of information that I wanted to understand was the exact name(s), history, and links to the actual text of the healthcare legislation. If Wikipedia has it correctly, it's actually two laws: the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" and the "Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010," but I don't find any discussion at about the history of what happened nor the link to the text. A different website,, (which is included as a resource at, has the links to the law itself, which is at, and a webpage with links to the various sections of the law at Full Law by Section/bysection.html

I'd like to offer my personal thanks to the organizations involved for the effort that went into setting up I hope that it continues to be updated, and that word spreads that the website exists, and that people read it as well as the biased comments of politicians and newspaper editorialists.

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Dr. Bill Quick began writing at HealthCentral's diabetes website in November, 2006. These essays are reproduced at D-is-for-Diabetes with the permission of HealthCentral.

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