Plain Language in Health Care Policy?

President Barack Obama listens to comments while meeting with healthcare stakeholders in the White House. At right is Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This is one of my new, favorite excerpts from HR 3200, Section 133 REQUIRING INFORMATION TRANSPARENCY AND PLAN DISCLOSURE. (a) ACCURATE AND TIMELY DISCLOSURE, page 39 (of 1018).

(2) PLAIN LANGUAGE.—In this subsection, the term ‘‘plain language’’ means language that the intended audience, including individuals with limited English proficiency, can readily understand and use because that language is clean, concise, well-organized, and follows other best practices of plain language writing.

I don’t know why I think it is so funny to have a statement like this nestled snugly into a document like this.  It seems to support a widely growing sentiment that the rules set by our government don’t apply to our government.  If following “best practices of plain language writing” is important enough to be part of the resolution, surely they could have done better than this with the entire resolution.

I encourage everyone to read and attempt to understand the resolution.  You will have more questions than answers when you are finished.  But, you will at least get a glimpse into what the proposals are.  You can draw your own conclusions about what it would or could mean to you.


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