Book Review: CCH’s Law, Explanation and Analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

CCH’s Law, Explanation and Analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Including Reconciliation Act Impact. Wolters Kluwer, 2010. [$149.00 | 2 volumes (2110 pages) | Soft cover: 9780808022879 (Vol. 1), 9780808023425 (Vol. 2)].

CCH has closely adhered to the company’s familiar provision of publications with a combination of primary materials and analysis through its new title on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Hailing the PPACA as “the largest expansion of federal health care policy in over four decades”, CCH includes explanations of all provisions of the act and the primary law itself, as well as the text of a congressional committee report and finding tools to help navigate between their analysis and the official text. As to whether this is worth purchasing, I would suggest it for several reasons, though I do take issue with the print format usability. CCH does not yet have competition for this particular issue in print; and, as a fairly inexpensive publication with CCH’s reputation to back the quality of information, this a good buy for any law library.

This is a brand new title covering brand new law for an extremely controversial and dense topic. As such, you have to expect the organization of the material to be fairly complex. The first volume includes an Introduction that covers a brief history of health care legislation in the United States, with a focus on legislative action through 2009-2010. This is followed by a detailed explanation of how the material in the book is arranged. The analysis portion contains “Highlights” (quick summaries of major provisions in the acts) and “Explanation” sections. The explanations follow the organization structure of the law and include the legislative background, editorial aids, charts, captions which cite to specific law sections, cross references and effective dates of each section. The plentiful cross-references and citations to the text of the acts offer a great deal of support and authority for the explanations provided by CCH staff. The first volume ends with a subject index. Volume two contains the official text of the PPACA, Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and a Joint Committee on Taxation report. The last resources in volume two are tables of effective dates and many more tables cross referencing Social Security, Employee Retirement Income Security, and Internal Revenue Code sections.

Not surprisingly, CCH offers this title in both print and electronic format. Access to the e-version is complimentary if you subscribe to several CCH Internet products (see health.cch.com/health-reform/ for more information). As my library does not subscribe to any of those online CCH titles (nor do we have an IntelliConnect subscription), I cannot detail my thoughts on the e-version. As for the print, it is a soft cover two volume set. CCH has additionally provided a companion web site to expand access to key legislative materials. While the cost is relatively low, and the publication does provide a comprehensive compilation of primary text and analysis, the format does not lend itself to easy usability. My conclusion is that in order to get the title published as quickly as possible in print, CCH chose the soft cover format over loose-leaf. I would not be surprised to find this item converted to a loose-leaf format, which would greatly enhance usability, as well as enable more current updating. Of course, this is a double-edged sword. Becoming a loose-leaf binder will not only almost certainly significantly raise the publication price, but also bring in yet another CCH binder subscription with the thinnest paper in the world, making filers throughout all libraries that much more eager to file away.

Katie Lynn is the Electronic Services Librarian at the Wyoming State Law Library in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

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