The promise of the Affordable Care Act is right there in its title: Affordable.Yet, anti-poverty agencies across the country fear that even with the federal financial assistance available under the law, health insurance will remain unaffordable for significant numbers of low-income Americans.
"For those with very low wages trying to raise kids, after paying for housing, electricity, food, transportation, and child care, asking people to pay another $50 or $100 a month, that's just out of reach," said Sireesha Manne, a staff attorney at the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is designed to make insurance affordable for Americans with low and moderate incomes—particularly since it requires all Americans to have health insurance starting this year, or face financial penalties. The law expands Medicaid eligibility (in the states that have agreed to do so) to the poorest Americans—those making up to 133% of the federal poverty line. But it also provides financial assistance for those making up to 400% of the poverty level to help them buy private insurance on the new state health exchanges.