The Project

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a law that was passed in 2010 along with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act as a part of health care reform.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the law, but how many people have read it? I intend to read the law in its entirety. I will read the law for two hours each week and post videos of each reading here on this site. It is 906 pages long (table of contents included) and I estimate that it will take about 60 hours to read.

This project is entitled “Act of Law”. The word, act, has many definitions. Each of my videos could be considered an act, both in the sense of “the doing of a deed” as well as a “performance” or “one of successive parts or performances”. I am also reading an Act, as in “the formal product of a legislative body”. But the word, act, also implies action. This law will result in actions being taken. I am interested in law and its ability to shape the society in which we live. It has the ability to shape relationships and our responsibilities to each other. But not all of our acts are determined by law. As humans, we are capable of acts and actions on a daily basis, which, large or small also shape our society.

Having not been trained in law, I am curious about how much I can learn from this document through the simple act of reading it. How accessible is the law? Is it really full of complicated legalese? I want to engage with the law first hand. What will the document tell me? Can I learn about our society through the language of the law?

While I am reading a law concerning health care, my interests are mainly in the legislative process and the language of law. I am using this project as a venue through which I can think about these things. I have chosen this particular law because it is part of a current, important debate that incites strong opinions.

When I complete this project I do not expect to be an expert in heath care. I believe that would take more intensive studying than I am intending with my action. Nevertheless, I do anticipate and hope to learn unexpected things through this experience of committing myself to the law.

Please listen or read along with me. I have posted the text of the bill as a pdf on the right side bar on the main page of this site.

I would also like to encourage you to read other bills. On the Library of Congress website (http://thomas.loc.gov/) you can search for and read current bills. The New York Times website (http://politics.nytimes.com/congress/) is another good resource for learning about current bills.

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