The rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act has piqued interest in the text of the bill, according to statistics released by the Government Printing Office.
Curious Internet users have downloaded the digital version of the federal health care law about 13 million times since the law was passed in March 2010 — more than any other document on the agency’s Federal Digital System, known as FDsys.
Two-thirds of those retrievals occurred in 2013, with the most popular single day being Oct. 4, the fourth day of a federal government shutdown battle that hinged on the 906-page health care law.
That Friday, the District was buzzing with health care talk. Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, told his fellow Republican lawmakers he would continue insisting that President Barack Obama agree to make some changes to Obamacare, while the president urged frustrated Americans not to give up on the problem-plagued website, HealthCare.gov.
GPO reported the health care law was accessed through their system about 256,000 times that day.
To put the figures in perspective, the No. 2 most popular item in FDsys history is the GPO Style Manual, according to agency spokesperson Gary Somerset. The official guide to federal grammar, punctuation and style has been retrieved about 6.4 million times — less than half the number of hits for the federal health care law.
The third most retrieved item in the 900,000-title library is the Financial Crisis Inquiry Report produced in 2011. The findings and conclusions of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission have been accessed about 2.5 million times.
There is far less demand for the president’s fiscal 2014 budget, which has had about 160,000 retrievals.
In a statement, Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks called the 13 million milestone a “testament to FDsys and its reputation as the best site for access to authentic, published Government information.”
The agency continues to face questions about how it will adapt its business model to conform to 21st-century demands for information. Vance-Cooks has suggested swapping “printing” for “publishing” in GPO’s name to better reflect its mission.
“GPO is committed to serving as the official, digital, and secure provider of Federal Government products and services,” she said in her statement, and called FDsys “the backbone of that effort.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.