When I sat for my first conference on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) in 2010, one thing was clear: Nothing. The expert presenters all admitted, with sympathy from the listening audience, that they had not (and could not) read the ACA in its entirety. They were afflicted with the same problems that we all were: A void of specific information about the ACA, a handful of known changes to be enacted in the future, and a general sense that an enormous transformation was about to occur in health care in America. Since then, the information vacuum has begun to fill in slowly. We know that the ACA is intended to improve access to health care, improve quality, and cut costs. We know some of the mechanisms that will be used to accomplish these things: Insurance exchanges, the health insurance mandate, Accountable Care Organizations, and electronic medical records. Since my first glimpse in 2010, it seems the ACA has made it onto every health care related conference and association meeting agenda, and has been the subject of discourse in trade publications and newsletters. Good. We need to be talking about it and learning about it.
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