5 common misconceptions of the healthcare bill

Why moving to Canada won't help you avoid universal healthcare

Protesters hold signs in protest outside the Supreme Court on June 28. (Source: CNN) Protesters hold signs in protest outside the Supreme Court on June 28. (Source: CNN)

WASHINGTON (RNN) - Since the Supreme Court sided with the federal government by upholding the 2010 healthcare reform law, there have been a number of misconceptions floating around the internet and on television.

Some people say they or their loved ones will end up in jail if they don't buy insurance by 2014. Some people say they would be better off moving to another country. Neither are true.

Here are some facts to cut through the fog and explain what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows, and what it doesn't.

  1. With the healthcare bill, I can go to jail for not having the minimum level of insurance.
    This is unequivocally, without a doubt, false.

    As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the Supreme Court's majority opinion, "The Act … bars the IRS from using several of its normal enforcement tools, such as criminal prosecutions and levies."

  2. I'm going to go broke trying to pay for health insurance, that's why I don't have it!
    The law is aimed at lowering insurance premiums by bringing more people into the pool for healthcare services - this is why health insurance companies have for the most part been for the individual mandate.

    For states that decide to use the funds the government is offering for the expansion of Medicaid, people making within about 133 percent of the federal poverty line will be eligible starting on Jan. 1 2014. That means an individual making $14,800 or less annually and families of four making $30,600 or less a year will be able to get Medicaid benefits.

    There are also a number of groups exempt from the tax penalty, including people who would have to pay more than 8 percent of their income to buy health insurance.

    With exemptions, the expansion of Medicaid and public subsidies mandated in the law, the Urban Institute estimates only 2 percent of the population will face penalties for not obtaining insurance.

  3. The price of paying for insurance is so expensive then it would just save me money to pay the tax and go without healthcare.
    According to the law, the tax penalty for those who don't get insurance is set at 2.5 percent of a person's income, but no less than $695. For those fretting over expensive taxes, it's important to note the law also puts a cap on the penalty, set at the "average yearly premium for insurance that covers 60 percent of the cost of 10 specified services (e.g., prescription drugs and hospitalization)," according to Roberts.

    So yes, it would technically be cheaper for you to opt out of health insurance if you want to and your employer doesn't provide it.

  4. Now that the law is affirmed, I'm going to have to find all new health insurance! I wish I could just keep the coverage I like!
    The only reason you would have to axe your insurance is if it doesn't meet the minimum coverage provision of the law. That's the only reason. So bad coverage plans that don't meet these minimum provisions will likely go extinct.

  5. Well, it's clear this country is going downhill. I'm going to move to Canada!
    If you are one of the people who is thinking about moving to Canada and are not just making a joke, you should probably pick a different country. Canada has a single-payer, universal healthcare system that is a lot more "liberal" than the kind upheld by the Supreme Court today. In fact, more than 30 countries have a universal healthcare system. Many more countries have some form of universal coverage.

    It would be better to move to Asia, Africa or the countries in northwest South America.

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