Back to basics
Don't worry. This post isn't going to be a long, or even a short, explication of the health-care bill. It's just going to link to my colleague Alec MacGillis's short explanation of the health-care bill.
I'm reminded to do this by a conversation I had with a family friend the other night. My friend is smart and well-read. She keeps up with the papers and actually works in the medical industry. But she doesn't know much about this bill. And we're not talking the excise tax or the exchanges here. The basics. Preexisting conditions. Subsidies for the uninsured. The nuts and bolts of what the bill does.
Newspapers, blogs, magazines, television programs, and every other form of informational (or putatively informational) media suffers from much the same deficiency: They speak primarily to people who have been following along. It's not that they don't publish articles outlining the basic thrust of the legislation. It's that those articles aren't on the front of the page, and those segments don't lead the program, day after day after day. People tuning in late, or who missed the back-to-basics day, are thus in some trouble.
But in the age of links, there's little excuse for running a debate like this without making the basic information easily accessible. So here's Alec's piece. It's as comprehensive and clear a rundown as you'll find in under 1,000 words. Next time someone asks you what this bill does, forward it along to them. And if they want more, there's always my "Health reform for beginners" category.
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