The Affordable Care Act
Examining the Facts
by Purva H. Rawal, PhD
January 2016, 220pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-3442-4
$69, £52, 60€, A94
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3443-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The Affordable Care Act has been described as both an awful lurch toward socialized medicine and a landmark in improving American health care.

This is the first reference book to provide a detailed assessment of the Affordable Care Act, explaining the realities and myths surrounding one of the most divisive political struggles in recent U.S. history.

The Affordable Care Act—also known as Obamacare—is one of the most controversial and politicized topics in the United States today. This timely book examines prominent claims about the legislation’s drafting, debate, passage, and implementation, and discerns what is true and false about the law. Each of the text’s eight chapters delves into the common beliefs, misinterpretations, and myths surrounding the act, tracing the history of the assertion and supporting or challenging its veracity through nonpartisan research and analyses.

Chapters begin with an objective look at the claim’s origins—with a brief focus on the person or group that conceived it and why—then set about clarifying or debunking it using evidence from research studies and reports from authoritative sources. Entries feature primary documents, a further reading section, and tables and graphs. Topics include the impact on health care costs for families, states, and the federal government; the effect of the Affordable Care Act on employer-sponsored insurance; and the role of health status on coverage under the Affordable Care Act.


  • Uses nonpartisan sources of information that include studies and reports to assess the claims, beliefs, and assumptions about Obamacare
  • Draws from credible research sources—such as the Center for Disease Control and the Government Accounting Office—to question or uphold beliefs
  • Provides an evidence-based examination of dozens of the most prominent claims about the Affordable Care Act
Purva H. Rawal, PhD, is an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University and a principal at CapView Associates, a policy consulting firm. She previously served on the budget committee in the United States Senate as a key advisor to Chairman Conrad (D-ND) during health reform and health advisor to Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). She received her doctorate in mental health services and policy program at Northwestern University.


"While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends this manual as rich in research and long on facts."—getAbstract, November 29, 2016

“Health care reform is aimed to address the major problems plaguing our health care system, including rising costs that threaten the fiscal future of the United States. However, the partisanship surrounding the law has made it difficult to look beyond the rhetoric and assess its impact on our health and economy. The Affordable Care Act: Examining the Facts is a timely and well-written review. It is indispensable reading for those seeking a better understanding of the law and those who are committed to fostering bipartisan dialogue to improve health care costs, quality, and access.”—The Hon. Kent Conrad, United States Senator, North Dakota, (1987–2013)

“The passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act have been partisan and controversial. The law has quickly become a political and cultural lightning rod leaving too little room for bipartisan dialogue among lawmakers or the public. The Affordable Care Act: Examining the Facts offers the first critical assessment of commonly held myths and beliefs about the law. Dr. Rawal uses her years in the Senate, work with stakeholders implementing the law, and academic experience to analyze the facts on both sides of the debate, with an eye toward informing rational and bipartisan solutions to ongoing health care challenges.”—The Hon. Joseph I. Lieberman, United States Senator, Connecticut (1989–2013)

Contemporary Debates

Each title in the Contemporary Debates series examines the veracity of controversial claims or beliefs surrounding a major political/cultural issue in the United States. The purpose of the series is to give readers a clear and unbiased understanding of current issues by informing them about falsehoods, half-truths, and misconceptions—and confirming the factual validity of other assertions—that have gained traction in America's political and cultural discourse. Ultimately, this series gives readers the tools for a fuller understanding of controversial issues, policies, and laws that occupy center stage in American life and politics.
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