How "ObamaCare" will affect Georgians
After many debates and plenty of time, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act mandating that individuals purchase health insurance â" but what exactly does that mean?
"The mandatory coverage means that once you reach age 26 and you become 27, if you're not on Medicaid and you have a job and you're offered health insurance and you decline it, then you have to pay a penalty, said Roger Marietta, a Political Science Professor and City Commissioner.
Starting in 2014, those who refuse health insurance will pay this penalty that will increase annually. While some say you can't force someone to buy insurance, the Supreme Court ruled that you can penalize them for not purchasing it.
"Even though the Supreme Court said the mandate itself is unconstitutional - as a mandate to purchase - they upheld congress' right to penalize people who don't purchase so it becomes essentially a tax," said David Bradford, a Political Scientist at the University of Georgia.
It's a tax that experts say was aimed at balancing the previous act of cost-sharing.
"Cost-sharing is this concept that people who aren't insured, their costs when they go to the emergency room are shuffled on to the people who are paying," said Marietta.
While those against the act say they simply cannot afford health insurance and it is not fair to force them to buy it, those for "ObamaCare" say everyone has unforeseen accidents and it should not be the responsibility of insured patients to pay for those who denied health insurance.
Now that the mandate has passed, some states will have to act fast in order to provide individualized plans for its residents - including the state of Georgia.
"The problem that some states, including Georgia, are going to face is that in the face of the uncertainty about what the Supreme Court was going to do, we didn't complete our plans for the exchanges to allow individuals to purchase health insurance," said Bradford.For now, Georgia has six months to provide its residents with these options.