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When the health changes could take effect

Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2009

For consumers, the most confusing part of the healthcare bill may be when—and if—they will see its benefits. Under the Senate bill, a slate of provisions designed to be immediately visible to consumers would kick in six months after the bill takes effect. But those changes wouldn't affect people who stay in employer health plans. For people who buy insurance on their own, the provisions would only have an effect when they buy a new policy. And one of the health bill's most widely debated features—a mandate that most Americans obtain health insurance or pay a fine—won't take effect until 2014.