July 10, 2012
To Mr. Chris Weatherbee, who wrote (July 4) that he cannot afford to pay for health care insurance or the penalty for not doing so as imposed by the Affordable Care Act: Don’t despair.
The act provides various exemptions from the penalties. For example, there are exemptions for individuals who cannot afford coverage, for taxpayers with income below income tax filing thresholds and for people with hardships.
Also, the penalty does not apply until 2014 and is based on a sliding scale starting at $95 a year. Hopefully, things will be better for you by the time it increases.
In addition, subsidies may be available to purchase insurance. If you were able to participate in this benefit, you would have health care insurance and would not be subject to the penalty.
Finally, the act makes more people eligible for Medicaid on a state-by-state basis. You could write Gov. Sandoval and tell him it is important that he make this coverage available so that more Nevadans have health care.
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Whether you qualify for any of these exemptions and benefits can only be determined by an assessment of your exact status.
Your concern is a good example of the widespread misunderstanding about the ACA. Admittedly, it is very complex, but generally it is intended to make health care available to many people not now covered, to improve the quality of health care for everyone, and to lower its costs.
The act does not establish “death panels,” does not permit the government to tell you what doctor you must see or what treatment you should have, and does not reduce basic Medicare coverage to beneficiaries by $500 billion, all as broadly and falsely claimed.
Everyone should make an effort to understand the ACA, which does not require reading the entire law. Just go to http://www.healthcare.gov for comprehensive and accurate information on the Affordable Care Act.