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Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works

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You won’t have to worry about going broke if you get sick.   We will start to bring the costs of health care under control.   And we will do all this while reducing the federal deficit.   That is the promise of the Affordable Care Act. But from the moment President Obama signed the bill into law in 2010, a steady and mounting avalanche of misinformation about the ACA has left a You won’t have to worry about going broke if you get sick.   We will start to bring the costs of health care under control.   And we will do all this while reducing the federal deficit.   That is the promise of the Affordable Care Act. But from the moment President Obama signed the bill into law in 2010, a steady and mounting avalanche of misinformation about the ACA has left a growing majority of Americans confused about what it is, why it’s necessary, and how it works. If you’re one of them, buy this book. From how to tame the twin threats of rising costs and the increasing number of uninsured to why an insurance mandate is good for your health, Health Care Reform dispels false fears by arming you with facts.


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You won’t have to worry about going broke if you get sick.   We will start to bring the costs of health care under control.   And we will do all this while reducing the federal deficit.   That is the promise of the Affordable Care Act. But from the moment President Obama signed the bill into law in 2010, a steady and mounting avalanche of misinformation about the ACA has left a You won’t have to worry about going broke if you get sick.   We will start to bring the costs of health care under control.   And we will do all this while reducing the federal deficit.   That is the promise of the Affordable Care Act. But from the moment President Obama signed the bill into law in 2010, a steady and mounting avalanche of misinformation about the ACA has left a growing majority of Americans confused about what it is, why it’s necessary, and how it works. If you’re one of them, buy this book. From how to tame the twin threats of rising costs and the increasing number of uninsured to why an insurance mandate is good for your health, Health Care Reform dispels false fears by arming you with facts.

30 review for Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jon Stout

    I have a stack of serious books to read, and here I am reading a comic book. But it’s a serious comic book, about Health Care Reform. I’m beginning to think that comics can deal with the deepest subjects, from the foundations of mathematics (Logicomics) to the Holocaust (Maus). Health Care Reform (the comic book) is not that great as art or as a graphic novel, but it does go a long way toward explaining a topic that many people feel strongly about, but that few people can talk about knowingly. I I have a stack of serious books to read, and here I am reading a comic book. But it’s a serious comic book, about Health Care Reform. I’m beginning to think that comics can deal with the deepest subjects, from the foundations of mathematics (Logicomics) to the Holocaust (Maus). Health Care Reform (the comic book) is not that great as art or as a graphic novel, but it does go a long way toward explaining a topic that many people feel strongly about, but that few people can talk about knowingly. I feel that I have had an illustrated review of all of the basic principles. If all of the people nattering on about “Obamacare” had at least this much grasp of the issue, at least we would have a common vocabulary, before bringing in our political axes to grind. Health Care Reform deals with both the Massachusetts version associated with Mitt Romney, as well as the Affordable Care Act initiated by Barack Obama. The author is an M.I.T economist who played a role in both efforts and seems impartial between them. The artwork is on the same level as an illustrated Heimlich Maneuver or a Smokey the Bear public service announcement, but it’s fun and it gets across an important argument.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    This is one of those descriptive titles. You read it and know exactly what the book's going to be about. The jacket description might add detail, but won't add more than that. And the book itself will obviously add even more more detail. And, if you read everything cited in the bibliography, you'll get even more more more ... But you get the idea. Anyhow, this book's objective is to clearly and simply inform the reader about health care reform, specifically the Affordable Care Act, and it achiev This is one of those descriptive titles. You read it and know exactly what the book's going to be about. The jacket description might add detail, but won't add more than that. And the book itself will obviously add even more more detail. And, if you read everything cited in the bibliography, you'll get even more more more ... But you get the idea. Anyhow, this book's objective is to clearly and simply inform the reader about health care reform, specifically the Affordable Care Act, and it achieves this admirably. The artwork is clear and concise, the writer provides clear and helpful examples to illustrate his points. I think that, by doing this book as a comic rather than an informational pamphlet, the message was made more interesting (at least to me, comic book lover that I am) and therefore more likely to be read. If this were simply an article posted on Facebook, I'd probably get about a paragraph or three in and then start skimming, assuming I even clicked on the link in the first place. I'm not proud of this; I'm just saying. To convey information, there either needs to be some interest in the subject on the reader's part, or some sort of hook--clever and/or entertaining prose, incorporation into a story, do it in comics form, etc.--to attract the casual reader. I feel that I know more about the ACA than I did before reading this. It may not be spectacularly well-done comics, but it's very good for what it is, quietly competent and much more engrossing than you may think.

  3. 5 out of 5

    William Doonan

    It's a bird..it's a plane...it's Affordable Healthcare Man I thought I had a reasonable grasp on this complex topic, but boy did I learn a lot from Gruber’s book. The comic book format is genius – it transforms a burdensome discussion into something fun yet still comprehensive. I’ll be encouraging all my students to have a read! It's a bird..it's a plane...it's Affordable Healthcare Man I thought I had a reasonable grasp on this complex topic, but boy did I learn a lot from Gruber’s book. The comic book format is genius – it transforms a burdensome discussion into something fun yet still comprehensive. I’ll be encouraging all my students to have a read!

  4. 5 out of 5

    John

    I was looking for a book I could share with people who are skeptical about the Obama healthcare plan, and gave this book a read. It's very good. It explains in cartoons many complicated things in a way that is clear and compelling. There are lots of places where it presents facts that people just don't know well enough (for example, the administrative costs of medicare are WAY lower than any insurance provider). But: 1. There are a number of places where I almost screamed out "whoa!! slow down!!" F I was looking for a book I could share with people who are skeptical about the Obama healthcare plan, and gave this book a read. It's very good. It explains in cartoons many complicated things in a way that is clear and compelling. There are lots of places where it presents facts that people just don't know well enough (for example, the administrative costs of medicare are WAY lower than any insurance provider). But: 1. There are a number of places where I almost screamed out "whoa!! slow down!!" For instance, one thing you hear from people who really haven't thought through all this stuf is something like this: "I don't have health care and can't afford it. But I'm healthy (knock wood) and don't need it. I don't think we should be compelled to pay for the health care of others or for ourselves. If I do get sick, I'll just go without care or go to the emergency room." This is one of the most naive things someone can say when they're healthy. People just have no idea what their body will be telling them when they get sick (for the most part, their body will be telling them: Get some help! And if they're not listening to their own body, their loved ones will be compelling them to get help). This is perhaps THE crucial point about the social psychology of getting sick in America. People don't understand what their own behavior will be; and they have no clue regarding the enormous costs they pass on when they don't get regular care. It's massive. *I* can't afford it (paying for ERs to help people who aren't covered). So please, would you naysayers get some coverage? In ObamaCare, if you genuinely can't afford it, you get credits from the government. This means that you can get regular care and not go to the ER -- you save me money! The book blows through this problem (the "go it alone" types) in two pages. I was just listening to NPR interview some people in rural Wisconsin, and they said the usual right-wing things about ObamaCare: But I'm afraid that they simply don't know what happens and the massive costs they will accrue: Paid by people like me: ordinary tax payers. 2. A weird thing about this book is that the point of view of the author is a be-suited smart guy with glasses. He just looks like a nerd scientist/professor -- which he is of course (MIT Econ. prof.). The problem is, though, that the persona is just a policy wonk know-it-all. The book really misunderstands its audience. This should be a book that appeals to people who hate "experts." 3. And, of course, ObamaCare is complex. Really, really complex. The problem here is that the book is very quiet on the core reason: ObamaCare is about tossing some profits to the insurance companies so that they will go ahead with this wholesale revision of the American healthcare system. 4. Because it's so complex, in the end, it's really an argument for -- guess what? -- single payer health care. You get to the end of the book, and the whole thing is this massive Rube Goldberg machine. So, read it and weep. I wish this was the book you could pass on to your conservative relatives, but it really isn't. It goes too fast in the sore points, and presents its claims through a smarty-pants policy wonk who "has all the answers" instead of working through narratives of how regular people live. To be sure, there are gestures in the direction of what I'm talking about, but it's too schematic.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This is a good, very cleverly conceived, easy-to-understand exposition of aspects of the complicated ACA. The text is simple, free of jargon, and any possibly unfamiliar terms are fully explained, the graphic concept of the author (Dr. Gruber) discussing the ACA with the 4 characters, some of whom have medical insurance, some of whom don't or can't afford it, is excellent. The drawing is workmanlike and skillful in the black & white "graphic novel" format exposition of the ACA law. Considering t This is a good, very cleverly conceived, easy-to-understand exposition of aspects of the complicated ACA. The text is simple, free of jargon, and any possibly unfamiliar terms are fully explained, the graphic concept of the author (Dr. Gruber) discussing the ACA with the 4 characters, some of whom have medical insurance, some of whom don't or can't afford it, is excellent. The drawing is workmanlike and skillful in the black & white "graphic novel" format exposition of the ACA law. Considering the threats the law is under these days, this work is actually a page turner. I learned quite a bit about the law, and am now in a better position to evaluate allegations and claims made about it and actual results. The social problems that the ACA set out to address were two-fold: Rising costs and the number of uninsured. These problems are portrayed as a rather goofy two-headed alligator. The ACA is based on Romneycare, which is said to have worked in Massachusetts, and was the template for the ACA. I knew this, but in light of the ongoing national debate on the ACA, I am going to try to find out if in fact Romneycare did help bring down costs in Mass., as well as greatly reduce the number of the uninsured. Romneycare is a system (Step 1)"where insurance companies couldn't charge folks more because they were sick, or exclude them from coverage for preexisting conditions." In order to get insurance cos to agree to this condition, a way had to be found to get people to not just buy insurance when they are sick. (Step 2 -"...an individual mandate...") If not, "people will "free ride" on the system and buy insurance only when they are sick, and the system will fall apart." "If you don't buy insurance, the state imposes a tax penalty on you." "...the intent is...to make insurance available at a reasonable price." (Step 3) "...if it's not affordable, they're subsidized." The Romneycare "Connector" linking insurance cos with buyers became the Marketplace under the ACA. The idea is ins cos would compete for customers - millions more who could now afford med ins -- and that would bring down the cost of med ins,as ins cos competed with each other for customers. The ACA is based on Romneycare: First: "Everyone who needs it can get insured. No one is just a traffic accident or a bad gene away from bankruptcy." "Second, there's a mandate to buy insurance - but only if it's affordable. If insurance costs less than 8% of your income, then you have to buy it and if you don't you face tax penalties. However, if insurance costs more than 8% of your income, you don't have to buy it." "Third, there is financial assistance to those who can't afford insurance on their own. The lowest-income families will get free public insurance while lower- and middle-income families will get tax credits to offset the high cost of private insurance." With respect to the Medicare donut hole, "...the name for the gap in prescription coverage that happens after your medicare plan has paid for its percentage of your medications. This sometimes happens if you have a lot of meds or high-priced drugs. After that, you typically have to pay for prescriptions out of your own pocket." "[ACA] ...will give anyone who falls into the donut hole a 50% discount on covered brand-name drugs. That's above and beyond what Medicare had been covering." Also, "...ACA mandates that private insurance cover ... preventive service at no cost to the consumer. ...serves such as tests for high blood pressure or diabetes, screenings for many kinds of cancers such mammograms, vaccinations, flue and pneumonia shots, and well-child visits." A small business - employing "...fewer than 25 people ...could qualify for a tax credit that would offset the cost of your insurance." The annual penalty starts low in 2014 - the "larger of $95 or 1% of income - but it grows over time, so by 2016 it is larger of $695 or 2.5% of your income." "There are no lifetime or annual limits to the care being provided." "..a grandfather clause allows you to keep your current policy if you like it." "For our poorest citizens, those with incomes below $14,400 (individuals) and $29,330 (for a family of four), the government will provide free and comprehensive public insurance through the medicaid program." "The ACA is the single biggest expansion of public insurance since ...[1965, when medicare along with medicaid was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson]. Half of the expanded coverage that will be offered comes through medicaid." "For individuals with incomes between $14,400 and "44,320 and for families with incomes between $29,330 and $88,200, the government will offset the costs of insurance with tax credits." "Families pay as little as 2% and no more than 9.5% of their income, to buy insurance." Tax credits go directly to the ins cos. "The payroll tax that finances the medicare program will rise by almost 1% on those individuals with incomes above $200,000 per year and those families with incomes above $250,000 per year." "...this tax will apply not only to wages, but also to money made from investments." The Cadillac Tax "...is a surcharge on insurance companies that sell the most generous and expensive insurance plans, which often drive up medical costs. This tax doesn't go into effect until 2018,and at that point applies only to the top few percent of health insurance plans. But it applies to more plans over time if health insurance premiums continue to grow faster than general inflation. As a result of these spending cuts and revenue increases, the Congressional Budget Office projects that the ACA will reduce the deficit by $143 billion by 2019." The authors of the ACA included all possible measures under consideration that control health care costs: The Cadillac Tax, the exchanges, IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board - to oversee the way medicare spending is handled. ..Congress would have to respond to IPAB's recommendations with an actual vote), CER (Comparative effectiveness research) (..research to determine whether expensive treatments actually work better than cheaper alternatives. We spend 17% of our economy on a sector where we have no idea what services work better than others.) and ACO (providers are paid a fixed amount to care for you rather than an amount that grows the more care they deliver) "Accountable Care Organizations are coordinated groups that provide all patient care for one global reimbursement amount." "...the bill sets up pilot programs or alternative ways to reimburse and reorganize medical provider As we learn how best to change the structure of our medical system, we will control costs without sacrificing patient health." The bill includes significant incentives to improve the quality of care of medicare patients. "Hospitals and doctors that deliver high quality care will be rewarded and those that deliver low-quality care will be penalized." "The ACA will introduce a new insurance program to help cover the costs of long-term care. This will be financed by a voluntary payroll deduction system for employees When they become eligible after some years of contributions, those employees would be covered for either at-home care or facility care for their elder-care needs." "If States want to innovate by offering their own public option as part of their exchanges,they are welcome to do so..." "...the Cadillac Tax...is designed to keep people from loading up on unnecessary health care as a tax write-off. What it will do is cut into the one-third of unnecessary care that we waste." "The bill will take some of the sting out of job insecurity...and some of the worry we all have about getting sick." I definitely recommend this "graphic novel" type of book about a real program, the ACA, or Obamacare, for anyone interested in finding out about the complexities of the law. It dispells myths, and clarifies how the law works. Since the book was published, in 2011, we now have a chance to see how it has actually worked out. There are many claims made that the law does not work, yet millions have obtained med care through the ACA. Let's hope the current administration continues to make it possible for the uninsured to obtain med care through the ACA.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    Picked it up off the shelf at the library. I've read some of Gruber's stuff in NEJM and his analysis is generally pretty good. The book does an excellent job of presenting some of the major issues in health care and how we pay for it, and focuses primarily on what the PPACA does to try to fix those issues. (PPACA = Obamacare, more or less--meaning the health care bill that was passed in 2010). Gruber also does a good job of explaining what that ACA does and how it is intended to increase access t Picked it up off the shelf at the library. I've read some of Gruber's stuff in NEJM and his analysis is generally pretty good. The book does an excellent job of presenting some of the major issues in health care and how we pay for it, and focuses primarily on what the PPACA does to try to fix those issues. (PPACA = Obamacare, more or less--meaning the health care bill that was passed in 2010). Gruber also does a good job of explaining what that ACA does and how it is intended to increase access to health insurance. His bias does shine through at times (read: often), but as someone who worked a lot on the bill this is not unexpected. He hammers on a key point: the individual mandate is a requirement for the ACA to work. This is certainly true. But he doesn't seem to worry much about the legality issue, because it's necessary for the ACA, and it's imperative for Gruber that the ACA work. I have a few beefs with the ACA as well as its presentation here. First off, while it's great that more people will have health insurance, insurance does not equal access to care. It is often difficult for patients on Medicaid to find docs to treat them because Medicaid reimburses at a rate insufficient to cover overhead. Physicians take a loss when they accept Medicaid. So all of these new patients who are on the expanded Medicaid program won't necessarily have access to the care they need. The insurance is a step in the right direction, but insurance doesn't do you any good if the majority of medical practices are at their limit of Medicaid patients on their panel. Second, I agree that the fee-for-service system is flawed. But rather than moving to a pay for performance system, I think it would be better for docs to be paid for their time like most professionals (lawyers, for example, and even folks like plumbers and car mechanics). Payment for outcomes could easily lead to cherry picking of patients--who's going to want to see the patient that has a terrible prognosis, or the patient who chooses to not be compliant with the physician's instructions? Moreover, people are not machines. Physiology varies from patient to patient, and so treatment must as well. ACO's are mentioned as a silver bullet, but I remain skeptical. In all fairness, I do need to do a little more research on the subject. All of that being said, I have my own bias as a med student. I don't know what the best answers are for our health care system, but I do know that the current system is unsustainable. Fwiw, I find myself growing more interested in expanding the VA system... feasible? Desirable? Dunno. I need to do more research here, too. No matter what your political leanings, this book does present well what the ACA is and why it came about. If you're confused about the bill, this might be a good starting place.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    While it's taken me far too long to read Jonathan's Gruber's excellent nonfiction graphic novel on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I'm glad I finally checked out a copy from my neighborhood library. Overall, he does a great job of explaining a complex phenomenon (the US healthcare system) and a complex piece of legislation (the ACA). Gruber begins with a clear and concise description of the US healthcare system, as seen through the eyes (and heart attacks) of four people in common While it's taken me far too long to read Jonathan's Gruber's excellent nonfiction graphic novel on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I'm glad I finally checked out a copy from my neighborhood library. Overall, he does a great job of explaining a complex phenomenon (the US healthcare system) and a complex piece of legislation (the ACA). Gruber begins with a clear and concise description of the US healthcare system, as seen through the eyes (and heart attacks) of four people in common situations pre-ACA: A - has employer-sponsored insurance B - retired and on Medicare C - self-employed or not covered by employer, but insured on the non group (a.k.a., individual) market D - uninsured The ACA directly impacts only the 30 or so million people in those last two categories. Gruber explains why people in the first two categories also benefit, though. One of the main reasons is that uninsured and underinsured populations use the ER as the main point of care at a much higher rate than those on employer-sponsored insurance or Medicare, especially when urgent care centers, retail clinics, or doctors' offices would be more a more appropriate place for care. The hospitals can't get full reimbursement for this care, so much of the cost is passed on to people in categories A and B. Before moving on to a very clear description of the ACA, Gruber talks about it's predecessor in Massachusetts. Gruber was involved in both programs, so he is almost uniquely suited to describe the relationship between them. I was previously aware of the Massachusetts program, but hadn't known just how much of the ACA was modeled on it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angel

    This book is a must-buy for public libraries; a few academic libraries may probably want to acquire it as well, especially to have handy for freshmen writing research papers relating to health care reform issues. The book is a basic explanation of the Affordable Care Act as well as an argument for the need of reform in American health care. However, do not think that just because I say "basic" it is a simplistic book. Actually, the book provides very good, clear, concise explanations. It starts This book is a must-buy for public libraries; a few academic libraries may probably want to acquire it as well, especially to have handy for freshmen writing research papers relating to health care reform issues. The book is a basic explanation of the Affordable Care Act as well as an argument for the need of reform in American health care. However, do not think that just because I say "basic" it is a simplistic book. Actually, the book provides very good, clear, concise explanations. It starts by laying out the current situation, the need for reform, and how the ACA moves towards that reform. The author is an economics scholar and one of the people who helped craft Massachusetts new health reform plan. The book also does a pretty good job to dispel the various myths and fear statements that opponents of reform have used to prevent reform from happening. The books graphics are good. They are in black and white. Nothing fancy here, but the visual elements complements the content very nicely. If you want to learn more about the topic, this is certainly a very good place to start. If you have neighbors or friends who think it is all a conspiracy, that it is just "socialism in medicine," a government takeover, or other nonsense, hand them this book. It should help clear their objections. To be honest, maybe this is the kind of material we need for other forms of major legislation where the public needs to be educated. The book certainly is designed to educate the general reader on the topic, and it succeeds at that.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    Everyone in America should read this informative book. Health care is a huge issue we must address before it impacts all American lives negatively. Jonathan Gruber worked with Mitt Romney in Massachusetts to create a workable plan to address this issue. Later, Gruber worked with the Obama administration to develop the Affordable Care Act. In a very readable graphic style format, Gruber explains the reasons we need health care reform and what the Affordable Care Act is designed to do.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    It takes about 45 minutes to read and the pictures are fairly amusing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn't paid attention to the health care reform debate over the last few years. It does paint a positive view of the ACA (which some might disagree with), but it highlights the basic elements of the new law. Elements with which everyone should be familiar. It takes about 45 minutes to read and the pictures are fairly amusing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who hasn't paid attention to the health care reform debate over the last few years. It does paint a positive view of the ACA (which some might disagree with), but it highlights the basic elements of the new law. Elements with which everyone should be familiar.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    A nice overview of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Gives a basic outline and enough detail to follow, and comment on, the political controversy surrounding the bill. I felt Gruber did a great job of emphasizing how dynamic, or unstable, our current healthcare system is. Many people have legitimate concerns about the Act because they are happy with their current healthcare coverage. Gruber consistently points out how vulnerable most people, even those with seemingly great employee-based insurance p A nice overview of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Gives a basic outline and enough detail to follow, and comment on, the political controversy surrounding the bill. I felt Gruber did a great job of emphasizing how dynamic, or unstable, our current healthcare system is. Many people have legitimate concerns about the Act because they are happy with their current healthcare coverage. Gruber consistently points out how vulnerable most people, even those with seemingly great employee-based insurance plans, are to the vagaries of the system: they can lose their job, their employee can change their plans, etc. The goal is not to punish people for job loss, accidents, and bad genes. This book lays out the reason reform is needed, the logic behind the ACA, and answers many of the most common questions and concerns. He does not shy away from the uncertainties surrounding the act. What he does not address, some of which may beyond the scope of the book, are: mental health and dental care and the rising costs of medical education.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chip

    3.5 stars. Overview in illustrated format of the federal Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") - "what is is, why it's necessary and how it works" - by Jonathan Gruber, who consulted on both the Massachusetts health care reform act and the Affordable Care Act. Worthwhile reading for anyone at all interested in health care reform and the politicalization thereof. 3.5 stars. Overview in illustrated format of the federal Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") - "what is is, why it's necessary and how it works" - by Jonathan Gruber, who consulted on both the Massachusetts health care reform act and the Affordable Care Act. Worthwhile reading for anyone at all interested in health care reform and the politicalization thereof.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    A bit preachy, obviously propaganda-ist, but very informative on a topic of great importance and relevance to today's readers. I would encourage others to read it, with an open mind(!), keeping this in mind. It answered some questions for me, and left other unanswered in ambiguity. A bit preachy, obviously propaganda-ist, but very informative on a topic of great importance and relevance to today's readers. I would encourage others to read it, with an open mind(!), keeping this in mind. It answered some questions for me, and left other unanswered in ambiguity.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Moorhead Public Library

    FINALLY! Someone explains it in a way I can understand! The author of the law itself separates fact from political spin in this easy-to-read graphic novel. I feel much more informed and it wasn't a bore to read. FINALLY! Someone explains it in a way I can understand! The author of the law itself separates fact from political spin in this easy-to-read graphic novel. I feel much more informed and it wasn't a bore to read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    This was a really interesting read. Even though it is a little outdated, it was cool to see the American health care system explained in a graphic novel format. I don't think this is the best book for someone who is just learning about health care for the first time. There were times where it moved a little too fast. It could have done a better job explaining certain terms or laws. It would have been interesting to see a graphic novel that covered the basic concept of the American health care sy This was a really interesting read. Even though it is a little outdated, it was cool to see the American health care system explained in a graphic novel format. I don't think this is the best book for someone who is just learning about health care for the first time. There were times where it moved a little too fast. It could have done a better job explaining certain terms or laws. It would have been interesting to see a graphic novel that covered the basic concept of the American health care system, and explained common terms. But overall, it was a good book. It was a very quick read, and easy to stay engaged.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    This clarified some - a lot! - of my big confusion around America's Big Healthcare Problem. First, on the source(s) of the problem - that is, the vicious cycle of uninsured driving up costs for insured people; the dual incentives of healthcare providers to drive up healthcare costs (getting paid per procedure) and limit uncertainty (unsure of which procedure is the most useful). Second, on how the ACA works - specifically, how all its pieces (especially the mandate!) fit together. I suppose this This clarified some - a lot! - of my big confusion around America's Big Healthcare Problem. First, on the source(s) of the problem - that is, the vicious cycle of uninsured driving up costs for insured people; the dual incentives of healthcare providers to drive up healthcare costs (getting paid per procedure) and limit uncertainty (unsure of which procedure is the most useful). Second, on how the ACA works - specifically, how all its pieces (especially the mandate!) fit together. I suppose this might all be moot given how the Supreme Court is going... :/

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    pedantic and lacking in detail. It's just a professor being drawn in a superhero costume and quoting the CBO. Here's the CBO link: https://www.cbo.gov/topics/health-car... You might also check out Austin Frakt's blog, Incidental Economist. I can't argue about the substance of what's said here. I picked up the book hoping to be enlightened and am no better off. pedantic and lacking in detail. It's just a professor being drawn in a superhero costume and quoting the CBO. Here's the CBO link: https://www.cbo.gov/topics/health-car... You might also check out Austin Frakt's blog, Incidental Economist. I can't argue about the substance of what's said here. I picked up the book hoping to be enlightened and am no better off.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sheldon Chau

    Informative, fun, and quick read about the Affordable Care Act. Enlightening - broke down what health care would be like under the ACA, and how it is a long term plan aiming to shift previous standards, establish new policies, and move the system forward.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    What a crock of crap. The author is the same guy who said the ACA needed "the stupidity of the American people" in order to pass. Completely shoots his credibility and the book... goes in the trashcan. What a crock of crap. The author is the same guy who said the ACA needed "the stupidity of the American people" in order to pass. Completely shoots his credibility and the book... goes in the trashcan.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    In November 2014, a series of videos emerged of Gruber speaking about the ACA at different events, from 2010 to 2013, in ways that proved to be controversial. Many of the videos show him talking about ways in which he felt the ACA was misleadingly crafted and/or marketed in order to get the bill passed, while in some of the videos he specifically refers to American voters as ill-informed or "stupid." In the first, most widely-publicized video taken at a panel discussion about the ACA at the Univ In November 2014, a series of videos emerged of Gruber speaking about the ACA at different events, from 2010 to 2013, in ways that proved to be controversial. Many of the videos show him talking about ways in which he felt the ACA was misleadingly crafted and/or marketed in order to get the bill passed, while in some of the videos he specifically refers to American voters as ill-informed or "stupid." In the first, most widely-publicized video taken at a panel discussion about the ACA at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Gruber said the bill was deliberately written "in a tortured way" to disguise the fact that it creates a system by which "healthy people pay in and sick people get money." He said this obfuscation was needed due to "the stupidity of the American voter" in ensuring the bill's passage. Gruber said the bill's inherent "lack of transparency is a huge political advantage" in selling it.[23] The comments caused significant controversy.[24][25][26][27][28] In two subsequent videos, Gruber was shown talking about the decision (which he attributed to John Kerry) to have the bill tax insurance companies instead of patients, which he called fundamentally the same thing economically but more palatable politically. In one video, he stated that "the American people are too stupid to understand the difference" between the two approaches, while in the other he said that the switch worked due to "the lack of economic understanding of the American voter."[29] In another video, taken in 2010, Gruber expressed doubts that the ACA would significantly reduce health care costs, though he noted that lowering costs played a major part in the way the bill was promoted.[30] After the first of these videos came out, Gruber apologized for his wording, saying he "spoke inappropriately".[31] Some defenders of the ACA, such as Jonathan Cohn, called Gruber's statements about Americans "wrong and inappropriate" while maintaining that the trickery of which Gruber spoke was standard procedure for bills in Washington, and not a cause for scandal.[32][33] Opponents of the Act, on the other hand, were harsher in their criticism: commentator Rich Lowry said that the videos were emblematic of "the progressive mind, which values complexity over simplicity, favors indirect taxes and impositions on the American public so their costs can be hidden, and has a dim view of the average American,"[34] while commentator Charles Krauthammer called the first video "the ultimate vindication of the charge that Obamacare was sold on a pack of lies."[35] Conservative S. E. Cupp wrote that the videos also showed "willful ignorance" on Gruber's part in thinking that the Act was successfully marketed to voters, stating that "the law has never cracked a 51% favorability rating" and that, in the first elections after the ACA passed, Republicans, who had opposed it, retook the House of Representatives and gained control of 11 additional state governorships.[36]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    What's not to like?! A graphic novel explaining the Affordable Care Act! It's written by (but not illustrated by) the main architect behind RomneyCare and Obamacare so he's pretty darn familiar with the objectives of the legislation. On the point of RomneyCare and ObamaCare: the danger with tying an individual name to the legislation - and doing so in a pejorative manner - is that it's harder to divorce it from the originator if/when it succeeds. Achtung! Entering punditry territory. My summation What's not to like?! A graphic novel explaining the Affordable Care Act! It's written by (but not illustrated by) the main architect behind RomneyCare and Obamacare so he's pretty darn familiar with the objectives of the legislation. On the point of RomneyCare and ObamaCare: the danger with tying an individual name to the legislation - and doing so in a pejorative manner - is that it's harder to divorce it from the originator if/when it succeeds. Achtung! Entering punditry territory. My summation of the health care scene is that ACA won't be perfect and we're trading in one set of troubles for another. But the point of legislation isn't to do away with all troubles in one massive sweep (Hello, may I speak to the Taliban, please?) but rather to trade in one set of troubles for a smaller and more humane set of troubles. I think getting health insurance for tens of millions of my fellow citizens is, in and of itself, a good thing. Most religious and ethical teachings seem to have a "do good now" edict. Not at some point in the future. Now. I think that, on balance, the ACA does that. Also, since the ACA prohibits insurance companies from denying you care based on pre-existing conditions, insurance companies finally have a stake in addressing the shortcomings of the American food system. With 3/4 of health care spending going to treat "preventable chronic diseases", insurers will now have a reason to throw their weight (hee hee) behind changing the American diet. Michael Pollan had a great op-ed along these lines a few years back: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/opi...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Blane

    Although he comes across a little utopian in his vision of the current Affordable Care Act as it stands in front of the US Supreme Court, Jonathan Gruber (who helped author the bill) does an excellent job of describing a very complex change in the way Americans receive their health care. The graphic novel format works well in simplifying what can be confusing, even to those who consider themselves informed on the subject. An easy read (I went through it in about two hours), I came away with a be Although he comes across a little utopian in his vision of the current Affordable Care Act as it stands in front of the US Supreme Court, Jonathan Gruber (who helped author the bill) does an excellent job of describing a very complex change in the way Americans receive their health care. The graphic novel format works well in simplifying what can be confusing, even to those who consider themselves informed on the subject. An easy read (I went through it in about two hours), I came away with a better understanding of what it all means. From the get go, I have had issues with the health insurance companies' involvement in the process. Following reading the book, though, I can more clearly see the checks & balances that are to be put in place in the ACA as it is implemented over the next decade to keep these corporate behemoths motivated by little more than profit under control. As I write this (April 2012), it is currently in the hands of the (highly partisan) US Supreme Court to decide what happens to it. Time will tell.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nick Donato

    HEALTH CARE REFORM is basically an overview of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) written by Jonathan Gruber. The book gives an outline and a sufficient amount of detail to understand the political controversy surrounding the bill. The thing that I liked about the book is that it was easy to follow along and the explanations in the book were great. The fact that the book was set up in a comic book format just made it that much easier to understand the point Gruber is trying to get across. The only thin HEALTH CARE REFORM is basically an overview of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) written by Jonathan Gruber. The book gives an outline and a sufficient amount of detail to understand the political controversy surrounding the bill. The thing that I liked about the book is that it was easy to follow along and the explanations in the book were great. The fact that the book was set up in a comic book format just made it that much easier to understand the point Gruber is trying to get across. The only thing I didn't like about the book was that the book jumped around way to much. Meaning that at times the comics would kind of be out of place and didn't line up with what was trying to be put across. Also some of the explanations were a bit confusing, but in a way made sense. I would recommend this book to anyone who just wants a basic background knowledge on health care. The great thing about the book is that you can learn what health care is, but you can also get a grasp on the issue health care has on America because of the comic scenarios.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    This graphic novel on the ACA is simply phenomenal. Author Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the bill, eloquently spells out what the bill is for, what it does, what it doesn't do, and how it will affect us and our health care. With such a hugely confusing topic, it is incredibly helpful to use the easy-to-comprehend medium of a comic book; I for one with there were comic books for all important congressional action. If you have any questions, concerns, or critiques on the ACA and want a This graphic novel on the ACA is simply phenomenal. Author Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of the bill, eloquently spells out what the bill is for, what it does, what it doesn't do, and how it will affect us and our health care. With such a hugely confusing topic, it is incredibly helpful to use the easy-to-comprehend medium of a comic book; I for one with there were comic books for all important congressional action. If you have any questions, concerns, or critiques on the ACA and want an easy to consult resource, this book is for you. A friend of mine wrote an upper-division public finance term paper on the ACA, and used this book as her main source (AND earned an A!). Useful, accurate, easy to access information; what more could one want?!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Lynn Thomas

    This is a great book in that it lays out what the ACA is and how it works, and breaks it down into understandable bites (with illustrations to supplement the words). It's very, very pro-healthcare reform, which is fine for me because I am also pro-healthcare reform, but I think they could have spent a little more time debunking the right's frequent complaints. (Although, really, the right's opposition to this is just stupid, so maybe it's fine they didn't spend more time on it.) If the ACA has co This is a great book in that it lays out what the ACA is and how it works, and breaks it down into understandable bites (with illustrations to supplement the words). It's very, very pro-healthcare reform, which is fine for me because I am also pro-healthcare reform, but I think they could have spent a little more time debunking the right's frequent complaints. (Although, really, the right's opposition to this is just stupid, so maybe it's fine they didn't spend more time on it.) If the ACA has confused you in any way, I'm sure this book will answer your questions and help you understand it better (one caveat: it was written in 2012, so most of the ACA hadn't taken effect when it came out, but it still explains the changes that started in 2014).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    I feel kind of dumb reading a comic book about health care reform, but let's face it, most of us don't want to pick up a weighty tome on this dry subject. I found it interesting that societal measures that would increase the health of Americans--before they enter the ER--were not even mentioned. We cannot deny that many chronic diseases are directly linked to diet and lifestyle factors. If fresh produce was subsidized to the same degree as fast food cheeseburgers, these far more healthy choices I feel kind of dumb reading a comic book about health care reform, but let's face it, most of us don't want to pick up a weighty tome on this dry subject. I found it interesting that societal measures that would increase the health of Americans--before they enter the ER--were not even mentioned. We cannot deny that many chronic diseases are directly linked to diet and lifestyle factors. If fresh produce was subsidized to the same degree as fast food cheeseburgers, these far more healthy choices would be within the reach of most Americans. It would seem to me that any health care reform has to work in tandem with other health initiatives.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl

    I did not know I did not know what was going on until I read/looked at this book. I did not know about Health Care Reform because I felt I was; one not smart enough to understand it, two did not have enough time, and three that it really was not going to impact me. This book blew all those thoughts out of the water by making the subject understandable, short and succinct and personal. I highly recommend this book to anyone just starting out on the path to discovery about the nationally important I did not know I did not know what was going on until I read/looked at this book. I did not know about Health Care Reform because I felt I was; one not smart enough to understand it, two did not have enough time, and three that it really was not going to impact me. This book blew all those thoughts out of the water by making the subject understandable, short and succinct and personal. I highly recommend this book to anyone just starting out on the path to discovery about the nationally important subject of Health Care Reform. You can also try (if you have more time but it is worth it) Healing of America by T.R. Reid.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    The author, Johnathan Gruber, served as an advisor to Governor Mitt Romney when he implemented healthcare reform in Massachusetts. He then went on to advise President Obama during the crafting of the PPACA. The graphic novel format makes a complex subject easy to read and does a very good job explaining the law and how it works. The book is just slightly passe when discussing the role the Supreme Court would have in the mandate issue as they just ruled for the President. Other than that, the boo The author, Johnathan Gruber, served as an advisor to Governor Mitt Romney when he implemented healthcare reform in Massachusetts. He then went on to advise President Obama during the crafting of the PPACA. The graphic novel format makes a complex subject easy to read and does a very good job explaining the law and how it works. The book is just slightly passe when discussing the role the Supreme Court would have in the mandate issue as they just ruled for the President. Other than that, the book is still timely. I felt that I had a good understanding of the law but I did, in fact, learn some new things with this read. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    If you're a fast reader like me, you'll probably need to read this book twice in order to process all the information in it. Some points were a bit redundant, but the author does a good job of presenting how the Affordable Care Act would impact four main groups of citizens, as well as showing how some aspects of the healthcare industry may change. The authors seem to realize the enormity of implementing the ACA and acknowledge that it won't completely fix all problems in the healthcare and insur If you're a fast reader like me, you'll probably need to read this book twice in order to process all the information in it. Some points were a bit redundant, but the author does a good job of presenting how the Affordable Care Act would impact four main groups of citizens, as well as showing how some aspects of the healthcare industry may change. The authors seem to realize the enormity of implementing the ACA and acknowledge that it won't completely fix all problems in the healthcare and insurance systems, but should bring about many improvements.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

    First off: this is a cartoon book (excuse me....graphic novel). It takes about an hour to read. It also does a decent job of explaining why the health care system is not working and how the ACA (Affordable Care Act) begins to tackle the problem. Text written by Johnathan Gruber, an MIT professor of economics and an architect of both the Massachusetts healthcare plan, and a central figure in the construction of the ACA and Democratic healthcare policy consultant. It was a little light on detail, First off: this is a cartoon book (excuse me....graphic novel). It takes about an hour to read. It also does a decent job of explaining why the health care system is not working and how the ACA (Affordable Care Act) begins to tackle the problem. Text written by Johnathan Gruber, an MIT professor of economics and an architect of both the Massachusetts healthcare plan, and a central figure in the construction of the ACA and Democratic healthcare policy consultant. It was a little light on detail, but the whole point was to get the big picture across in the smallest amount of space-time.

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