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December 07, 2010A Cloud That Speaks Volumes

If you haven’t seen a picture like the one above before, you might be confused. Don’t be. It’s pretty simple.

This is a “word cloud” and it’s a way of analyzing text quickly.  What it does is take a bunch of text and look at all the words. The more often a word appears in that text, the bigger it is in the word cloud.

This particular word cloud is of the text of HR 3200, which is the original health care reform bill. This bill, along with the reconciliation bill after Senate passage, make up the new health care law.

Interestingly, we tried to include the text of both HR 3200 and the reconciliation bill in a word cloud, but the sheer volume of text crashed our browser before Wordle could process it. If you’ll pardon the pun, that speaks volumes.

As you might expect the words that appear the most are the words you might find in any legislation, “Section,” “Secretary,” “Paragraph,” etc.

But what is interesting are the words, “costs” and “physician” and “time.”  You may have missed them.  They’re inside the word “Section” in the “e,” “c,” and in front of the “s,” respectively.  As you can tell by their diminutive size, they weren’t mentioned very often in the bill. 

Which may be why they were mentioned so often during the election.

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