One of the themes of this blog is that the ultimate success of health-care reform is really about the how we treat sick people, but when we talk about “health-care reform” in Washington, we tend to be talking about how we cover people with insurance. The two are related, of course, but they are not identical.

Recently, I was given this packet of slides that runs through all of the Affordable Care Act’s “shalls”: the “more than eighty specific care delivery, care quality and care effectiveness programs, functions, goals and measurements” that the law calls into being. You can read this presentation as evidence of how much the bill does to improve the quality of care and cut its cost, or you can read it as evidence of the massive government overreach into the health-care system. Either way, it’s a streamlined tour through the “how we treat sick people” part of the law, which is both the key to its long-term success or failure and mostly ignored in the political realm: