Wondering why so many Americans so passionately oppose the new health care law? A new poll offers an explanation: Many believe that they'll be on the hook to pay higher taxes under the Affordable Care Act.
Twenty-six percent of Americans expect to pay the individual mandate tax associated with health care reform, according to a national poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted in late July and released Tuesday.
Yet under the new law an estimated 2 percent of Americans will likely wind up paying the "individual mandate," a penalty levied upon those who don't carry any insurance, according to the Urban Institute. (Hat tip: the Washington Post's Wonkblog.)
Wording may be part of the issue. When the same poll asked if they expect to pay a health reform "fine," only 12 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative.
The individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2010, will require Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014 that will amount to $95 or one percent of income, whichever is greater. The amount is slated to grow in later years.
Most Americans won't pay the tax because they're already insured--45 percent of adults receive health insurance from their employer and many others are, or will be, covered by government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
For the uninsured, the law offers subsidies to help pay for health insurance. Americans who cannot find an affordable health insurance program will be exempt from the tax.
Seventeen percent of Americans were uninsured last year, according to Gallup.
The expectation of higher taxes probably has made Americans more opposed to health care reform. Sixty-three percent of Americans said in the Kaiser poll that they view the requirement to have health insurance or pay a tax unfavorably.
The Supreme Court upheld health care reform's individual mandate as a tax in a 5-to-4 decision in June.
You Will Not Be Denied Over A Pre-existing Condition
Health insurance companies won't be allowed to deny coverage to Americans in frail health, according to <a href="http://www.newsday.com/news/health/gap-in-health-care-law-s-protection-for-children-1.1828037" target="_hplink">ABC News</a>.
Your Child's Policy Will Not Exclude Coverage For Any Illness
Insurance companies won't be permitted to write child health care policies that exclude coverage for certain illnesses by 2014, according to <a href="http://www.newsday.com/news/health/gap-in-health-care-law-s-protection-for-children-1.1828037" target="_hplink">ABC News</a>.
Some Will Be Taxed For Not Buying Health Insurance
Americans who do not purchase health insurance and are financially able to do so will be subject to a $695 penalty starting in 2014, according to <a href="http://www.boston.com/business/personalfinance/managingyourmoney/archives/2010/03/tax_implication.html" target="_hplink">Boston.com</a>.
Your Insurance Plan Will Offer More Free Preventative Care
All new health insurance plans since 2010 have been required to include free preventative care, according to <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/26/health/health-reform-fun-facts/index.html" target="_hplink">CNN</a>. This includes mammograms, vaccinations, colonoscopies, physical examinations and other forms of care. All plans need to provide these free services by 2018.
Seniors Will Pay Less For Prescriptions
Before some provisions of the health care law went into effect, seniors were required to pay the full cost of prescription medications once they reached a limit on prescription drug spending, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/26/health-care-reform-medicare-prescription-drugs_n_1625629.html" target="_hplink">The Huffington Post</a> reports. Obamacare is on track to close the gap by 2020, according to <a href="http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/press/release.asp?Counter=4388&intNumPerPage=10&checkDate=&checkKey=&srchType=1&numDays=3500&srchOpt=0&srchData=&keywordType=All&chkNewsType=1%2C+2%2C+3%2C+4%2C+5&intPage=&showAll=&pYear=&year=&desc=&cboOrder=date" target="_hplink">the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services</a>.
Insurance Policies Will Not Cap Your Coverage
Because of health care reform, health insurance companies will no longer be able to impose annual caps on coverage by 2014, <a href="http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/health_stew/2012/03/acas_ban_on_lifetime_caps_prot.html" target="_hplink">Boston.com reports.</a>
Insurance Companies Can't Drop You When You Get Sick
As a result of health care reform, health insurance companies will not be allowed to end your coverage once you are sick, the <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-07-06/health/ct-biz-0706-rescissions-health-reform20100706_1_small-group-coverage-illinois-insurance-department-rescission" target="_hplink"><em>Chicago Tribune</em> reports</a>.
You Can Remain On Your Parents' Plan Until Age 26
As a result of health care reform, children can remain on their parents' insurance plan <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/health-care-reform-young-adults_n_1385083.html" target="_hplink">until they reach the age of 26.</a>