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The Examination: How many pages is 'Obamacare'?

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THE EXAMINATION – This column looks for answers to what should be simple questions.

This week’s question: How many pages is ‘Obamacare’?

A simple search yields a wealth of fascinating estimates. And, like most things, the answer is simple, yet complicated. The easy answer is the law, as passed in 2010, weighs in at 906 pages. You can download it in PDF form from the U.S. Government Printing Office website.

Call the law what you will, Obamacare, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Public Law 111-148 (the official, boring title), it’s still just 906 pages.

Some have pegged the law to be much longer. Tom Giffey at the Leader-Telegram newspaper, wrote a great article in July of 2012 detailing how other interpretations have inflated the page count to over 2000 pages.

The fifth result in my Google search is from a site called policymic from March of 2013. The headline reads: “The Obamacare Law is 20,000 pages Long and Would Be 7 Feet Tall If Stacked Page-By-Page.”

What? I was pretty sure that had to be wrong.

Here’s the tweet, from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) highlighted, and misconstrued in the article from policymic.com.

Sen. McConnell is talking about regulations, not just the law itself. Whew. The law itself is a manageable read over a long weekend. The regulations are another story. A much longer, complicated story as Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post wrote about this in May of 2013 in “The Fact Checker – The Truth Behind the Rhetoric”. He details how the number of pages of regulations ranges from  13,000 to 33,000 pages, depending on how you count it.

Plenty to read, for sure, and I’m only on page 40 of the law.

It’s a page turner. I can’t wait to read the regulations.

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