Ask Yahoo News: Supreme Court upholds the Obama health care law

National Affairs reporter Liz Goodwin answers reader questions about the Thursday ruling upholding the president's health care law.


  1. so does that mean I am REQUIRED to have health insurance?
  2. Hi Amber, thanks for your question! Yes, you must have health insurance by 2014 or pay a fine of 1 percent of your income or $95, whichever is greater. (This would probably come off your refund at tax time. It will eventually increase to 2.5 percent of income or $695 by 2016.) If you don't get health insurance already through work, you will be able to buy it on your state's exchanges, which are supposed to be set up by 2014. People making up to 400 percent of the poverty line will be eligible for subsidies from the government to purchase this insurance. (So a single individual making up to $44,680/year would qualify for a subsidy.) People who live at 133% of the poverty line ($14,856/year for a single person) will be eligible for Medicaid, which is set to expand by a lot.
  3. Thanks Liz for explaining IT! So People, 1% of income or $95 a year... so what is the BIG deal. As far as if you have ANY health insurance (private, Medicare and etc) your covered.
  4. One quick caveat to my answer to Amber: That is assuming the law is not repealed by Congress.
  5. what if a person doesn't file taxes and doesn't have health insurance coverage...will the irs hunt them down and put them in jail?
  6. Hi Lisa, there is a specific provision in the law that says no one can be imprisoned for not paying the fine for not having health care. The IRS would most likely directly deduct the fine from your refund if you did not pay it.
  7. Presently I receive health care coverage from the VA and Medicare. Will I have to purchase supplimental insurance under Obama Care?
  8. Hi David, if you are already covered by Medicare you will not have to purchase any additional insurance under the law. Medicare is remaining largely untouched except that the government is experimenting with way to reward hospitals for better quality of care.
  9. I do Not LIKE this, but I respect the Court. romney has the Right answer to the situation.
  10. The CBO estimated that 4 million Americans will decide to pay the fine instead of getting health care, which will bring in $4 billion between 2017 and 2019.
  11. I have carried an Individual plan with BcBsof MN since 1994. Escalating premiums are now nearing $4,000.00 quarterly. Will I receive a refund from them?
  12. Hi Linda, Is your plan through the government or private? My guess is that your plan will change in the next few years, since part of the law makes health care plans provide a minimum of services to their customers. Most of the bare-bones emergency-only plans will have to beef up what they offer, and raise their prices. (Though lower-income people will also be eligible for subsidies to purchase insurance.)
  13. I'm curious ... what implication does Obamacare have for those who participate in group medical plans that don't technically qualify as insurance (such as Samaritan Ministries or Christian Healthcare Ministries)? Will they be asked to pay for this new insurance even though they are already taken care of through other means?
  14. Hi Cara, health care sharing ministries are exempt from the bill, so you will not have to change your insurance. Some religious groups, like the Amish, are also exempt, though my understanding is Christian Scientists are not.
  15. what if we dont go to the doctor that year? we still get fined on our refund?
  16. Hi Kerri, even if you don't go to a doctor, you have to buy insurance in 2014 or you will have to pay the tax.
  17. I think they just awoke a sleeping giant .Cant wait till November! NOB
  18. Hi Davey, you bring up a good point. Romney's campaign raised more than $1 million today on the health care announcement, and the decision may provide Romney with some momentum in the race. On the other hand, Romney also passed a form of health care reform when he was governor of Massachusetts, so it's a bit of a tricky issue for him to campaign on. Polls show most Americans are indifferent or don't like the law, and they also don't know what is in it. So Democrats will have to work on selling it better if they want to gain support for it.
  19. Liz: Someone without health coverage will have to pay $300 + a month for coverage based off of the passing of the Mandatory Coverage? If you do not pay, you will have to pay a penalty. What if you are on Medicaid or Medicare? How does that work?
  20. Hi Leslie, people on Medicaid or Medicare won't see much change, except that Medicaid is expanding by a lot to cover almost all low-income people. (Assuming governors go along with the expansion.) Right now, Medicaid primarily covers low-income parents, but low-income single people don't have access to it.
  21. Ms. Goodwin, can you please explain to the people complaining about the poor getting screwed over exactly what subsidies are and what they will be used for?
  22. Travis had a good question about the subsidies. The subsidies will be provided to people living at up to 400 percent of the poverty line (more than $80k/year for a family of four). The subsidies fill in the gaps based on what you pay for insurance. So if you pay 12 percent of your income on buying insurance, the government will give you enough money so that you are only paying 9 percent of your income on it. The subsidies are on a sliding scale based on income, here's the full info: 
  23. OK I see I had to refresh my page to see what's still being written, DUH! I am up up speed now. SO "LIZ GOODWIN" ARE YOU THE ONE WHO IS THE GO TO PERSON FOR ANSWERS HERE? Or are you just a nice person offering your personal views?
  24. Charlotte, I ask myself this question every day! I am not just a nice person. I am the Yahoo national affairs reporter, doing my best to answer as many question as I can! So happy there's so much interest but it's hard to get to everyone!