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American Bar Association




For more than a decade, the minimum essential coverage requirement, commonly known as the individual mandate, has been a key point of controversy over the ACA, symbolizing ideological and political disagreements over government assistance to low-income populations, federal regulation of private industry, and the legacy of President Obama. 26 U.S.C. §5000A(a) requires everyone (with exceptions) to be covered by a private or public health benefit program meeting ACA standards. 26 U.S.C. §5000A(b) requires those who are not so covered to pay a fee (“shared responsibility payment”) to the Treasury. 26 U.S.C. §5000A(c) sets forth the amount of that fee.

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