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HOSTMr. President, thank you so much for sitting down to talk with us.
OBAMALisa, thank you for having me.
HOSTSo, we invited the WebMD community to submit questions for you about the Affordable Care Act, and we got a huge response. We received questions from people from all 50 states. We got questions about policy. We heard from folks with concerns. Others who wanted to thank you for putting the law in place. And we also heard from a fair amount of people who are still confused about the details of the law and the impact. We have a lot of questions, and people are really eager to hear your answers, so if you don't mind...
OBAMALet's dive in.
HOSTDive right in, fantastic. Okay. So, we received literally hundreds of questions from people like Becky from Maryland, Connie from Pennsylvania, and Tiffany from Tennessee, who believe they need to make a choice between buying health insurance and paying for other necessities. What can you say to those people who believe that health insurance still isn't affordable, and they're concerned that, if they don't purchase it, they'll have to pay a penalty?
OBAMAWell, the first thing is making sure everybody has the right information, because there's been so much politics swirling around this, that I think a lot of folks still aren't sure what exactly is available. My most important recommendation is for people to go to the website -- healthcare.gov -- and look for themselves at what plans are being provided. And the website helps you calculate whether or not you qualify for a tax credit. If you do qualify for a tax credit, then I think a lot of people may end up being pleasantly surprised because, for a large portion of those folks, health insurance may end up costing $100 or less. It may end up costing less than your cable bill or your cell phone bill. And, if you are young, it may end up costing as little as $50 for good, solid coverage, that not only protects you in the case of illness or accident but also allows you to get free preventive care -- routine mammograms or making sure that you're getting your flu shot for you and your family. In some cases, people may also find out that, if they're really suffering some financial hardships, that they qualify for Medicaid. Or their children qualify for the Children's Health Insurance Program. All of which give them high quality health insurance. And finally, what I think is important for people to understand is that if, in fact, they still can't afford it, there is a hardship exemption in the law. That means that they may not be subject to a penalty. The penalty really applies to folks who clearly can afford health insurance but are choosing not to get it. And then, essentially, they are relying on you and me and others who are paying our insurance premiums to subsidize them when they go to the emergency room if, heaven forbid, something happens. But I think that a lot of people have initially been skeptical. When they've gone online at healthcare.gov, they've discovered that, in fact, they've got some good options there that they can afford.