Legislation, Presidential & Congressional Politics/Obamacare

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Question
I keep hearing that we will be forced to sign up for some kind of medical insurance through Obamacare "exchanges" or be fined. Can my government really force me to buy something I don't need or want and punish me if I don't?

Answer
Hello,

Under the new health care law, you are required to have health insurance.  If you do not have health insurance through your employer, you will be required to buy your own insurance.  The healthcare exchanges are designed to make it easier to apply for insurance, but you are free to get insurance however you like.  There are also subsidies for low income people who may not be able to afford insurance.

If you do not get insurance, you have to pay an extra tax penalty with your income tax.  The penalty is 1% of your income or $95, whichever his higher.  The issue of whether it was legal to force people to purchase insurance or suffer a tax penalty went before the US Supreme Court last year and was upheld as Constitutional.  The Court noted that the government already uses the tax code to compel behavior.  For example, if I don't put money in my retirement account each year, my taxes will be higher. Similarly, under this new law, if I don't by health insurance each year, my taxes will be higher.

The theory behind this statute is that the government spends a great deal of money paying for emergency room visits for the uninsured.  This new plan ensures that people have coverage in the event that they need medical care.

This law, of course has been highly controversial and has been vehemently opposed by the Republican party.  But at present, it is the law of the land.

- Mike  

Legislation, Presidential & Congressional Politics

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Michael Troy

Expertise

I can answer just about any question about U.S. Political history, Constitutional law, the legislative process, elections, etc. I enjoy Presidential and Congressional historical trivia, but can answer more substantive questions too.

Experience

Former Staff member for a Congressman and Senator. I also worked on about 10 Congressional and Presidential campaigns (only one that won). For a short time, I worked in the legal department of the Federal Election Commission.    I have a B.A. in Political Science.

Organizations
Former LBJ Fellow (paid fellowship for Congressional Staff).
Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honorary Society).

Publications
Washington Post
Washington Times

Education/Credentials
J.D. University of Michigan
B.A. George Washington University (Poli. Sci. major).

Awards and Honors
LBJ Fellow
Truman Scholar

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