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- Medicaid—the government-payer program that mostly covers low-income women and children—was expanded to cover basically everyone making up to 133% of the federal poverty level.
- Insurance will be sold on state-run exchanges, where coverage can’t be denied to those with preexisting conditions, and pricing can’t vary much between the riskiest and least-risky consumers.
- To help people buy insurance on the exchange who are low-income but not quite eligible for Medicaid, subsidies are established to defray the cost.
- For most people who aren’t covered by an employer’s plan, and aren’t in a low-income bracket, they will now have to buy insurance on the exchange. If they don’t? That’s where the individual mandate comes in—a controversial penalty for people who go without coverage.