Read the entire health care reform bill online — if you dare.

Normally if you want a comprehensive understanding of any legislation, the best way to go about it is to go straight to the actual bill and read it.

But if you want to understand the health care reform proposal being discussed in Congress, the actual bill in this case might not be your best option.

As with all government legislation, the text of the bill, along with a summary and other information such as sponsorships and cost impact, is available online in various places. It’s your right to know what these bills say.

We chose the Web site of the Library of Congress, which allows citizens to search all federal bills through its THOMAS system (named after Declaration of Independence author Thomas Jefferson). The actual bill is titled, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009,” officially known as House of Representatives Bill 3200, or H.R.3200 for short.

Unless you’ve got extensive legal training and/or expertise in government health care and social security legislation, this won’t help the average citizen figure out what’s going on. Sure, you can get some clues by clicking on various items in the table of contents. But you won’t be able to fully grasp the entirety of the bill simply by reading it.

The reason is because the health care bill is 1,017 pages long and includes references to other sections of law that you need to know for one particular section to make sense. If you clicked on to each reference, it would probably make your reading 10,000 pages, and you still might not be able to digest all the subtle changes.  Usually, reading the bill summary helps a lot. But as detailed and confusing as the actual text of the bill is, the summary is comparably vague and unhelpful.

The Detroit Free Press has put together a Q&A that helps answer some questions and dispel some of the myths about the proposal. Some lobby groups, such as ARRP, have put out information sheets on the impact of the legislation, which they’ve posted on their respective Web sites. You might also attend some of the town hall meetings being held by members of Congress on the topic. Watch The Post-Star for info on upcoming town hall meetings by Congressman Scott Murphy. Other than that, read as many articles about it as possible.

Sifting through the actual legislation might give you some understanding of health care reform. But if you really want to grasp it, in this case you’re better off seeking out sources other than the bill itself.

Original Post can be found at Poststar.com

Article by– Mark Mahoney