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Healthcare Law

This guide is intended to provide assistance to students in the OU Law Graduate Studies Programs. JD students and practitioners utilizing the Donald E. Pray Law Library, Robert M. Bird Health Science Library or OU Libraries may also find the guide useful.

Researching Primary Law

There are links on this page to some sources of U.S. health law in federal statutes, and a link to the United States Code of Federal Regulations. In the left column, there is a selection of links to Oklahoma statutes and Oklahoma administrative regulations.

The appropriate state or federal agency can be a very good place to begin researching a health law issue. Links to relevant statutes, administrative rules, and agency decisions often can be found on agency websites, as well as information about what the agency does.

Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the permanent regulations published in the Federal Register by executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The CFR is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. CFR titles related to health generally correspond to federal statutory titles covering the same topics. For example, Title 42 of the United States Code contains laws dealing with public health and Title 42 of the CFR contain regulations related to public health. 

If you are unsure of what federal regulations you may need to consult, you can use a subject index to the CFR, or a citator for statutes or cases you may be examining. Electronic databases and the finding aids index for the CFR in print have tables that cross-reference U.S. Code sections with applicable sections in the CFR.

Affordable Care Act Regulations

ACA regulations are available on the websites of three federal departments responsible for implementing various provisions of the ACA: Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO); Internal Revenue Service (IRS); U.S. Department of Labor (DOL):

Affordable Care Act (ACA) & Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA) - Prepared by the University of Minnesota College of Law for the Health Law and Policy Guide

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) (also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or Obamacare) fundamentally changed healthcare coverage, insurance, and regulation in the United States. Due to the strong views in favor of and opposed to the ACA, it was enacted in an unorthodox and controversial process.  An important result of the process used to enact the law is that the ACA is not one single health care bill that became law, but is actually composed of two laws: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 STAT. 119) and Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA) (Pub. L. No. 111-152, 124 Stat. 1029).  

The ACA was enacted on March 23, 2010. HCERA was enacted on March 30, 2010, to reconcile major differences between the Senate bill and the House version of the health care legislation. Prior to this law, Congressional Democrats had intended to have a conference committee merge the ACA with the “Affordable Health Care for America Act” (H.R. 3962) that had passed the House of Representatives. Due to the election of Republican Scott Brown in a special election to fill the seat vacated by the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Republicans had the votes needed to filibuster a conference report on the House and Senate bills. Although HCERA significantly amends the ACA, because it is a budget reconciliation bill it could only be used to make budget amendments. However, it was legislatively expedient; and most importantly, a reconciliation bill can be passed with a simple majority and cannot be filibustered under Senate rules, which became the only way to pass it after Senator Brown’s election.

The ACA is divided into 10 titles and Title X significantly amends the other titles (requiring consolidation of the other titles with their Title X amendments). Thus, understanding the ACA requires knowledge about the amendments made by Title X of the ACA, the changes made by HCERA, and other subsequently enacted amendments.  The ACA, HCERA and summaries and commentary are available below:

ACA Legislative History and Congress.Gov also provide legislative history for these two laws: