How Long is the New Health Law?

With the House of Representatives passing the Senate’s version of the health reform legislation tonight, it can now be signed by the President.  An historic step by any measure. While one of the criticisms leveled against the bill has been its length – typically cited as 2,409 pages – I recently pointed out to someone that the 2,409 page length is because the bill is printed to make it easy to read by using a large font, leaving lots of space between the lines, and sequentially indenting subsections to make the overall structure clearer.  (Below is one page from the printed version of the bill.) However, by changing the font and reformatting it, I was easily able to make the entire bill fit on 60 pages.

So how long is the bill? It all depends.  But certainly the 2,409 page length “fact” – and similar figures – will be tossed around as pseudo-quantitative arguments that the new law is too complex, which will be another example of fun with facts in support of political positions.

Page 448 of Health Reform Bill

One thought on “How Long is the New Health Law?

  1. I’m glad you did the experiment to test the compacted length of the bill. I’ve been thinking the same thing. It is just as silly as the muttering that attended the Harry Potter books – given that they were formatted for children with big fonts and double spacing, they sure did look formidable. Now that one can get more typical versions, we see that they are really so intimidating. Sometimes conventional wisdom is just wrong.

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