Sometimes things are a little clearer in retrospect. Now that health care reform has passed in the House, it seems there are two main questions in people's minds:

  • What's next?
  • Why, procedurally, was the legislative process so confusing and painful to watch?

Let's answer that second question first. To help do that, we've drawn up some helpful infographics.

Exhibit A - How, originally, we thought health care legislation would play out procedurally. This is typically how proposed legislation is melded between the two houses.

Exhibit B - How things would've worked under "deem and pass," or a self-executing rule. After questions were raised about the constitutionality of "deem and pass," the House ended up not going that route.

Exhibit C - How it looks like it's going to happen, after all.

In that last graphic, the yellow marker (5) is where we're currently at. President Obama reportedly will sign the Senate bill on Tuesday, which means that part of health care legislation is law. The House-passed reconcilliation portion, consisting of 153 pages of "fixes" to the Senate bill (compare the two bills with our side-by-side comparison app), will then move to the Senate (6), and if it passes, on to presidential sign-off (7).

As for the "What's next" question, Kaiser Health News has a good list of some of the provisions that will take effect in 2010. Most of the bigger changes that will affect millions don't go into effect in 2014.