In a nutshell: It won't work for non-welfare people earning between a few thousand and 20K-30K a year. The only way it appears to work in NY state, Ohio or CA is working service economy people are bring put on welfare, against their will to avoid the fine. You don't take the welfare (Medicaid) then you break the law.
=== That's the short answer if you believe me (a dude you don't know)======
OK explain it to yourself. This is how I found out. Not by listening to political sales-spin. Go to healthcare.gov ; pick Georgia and pretend you make minimum wage with a family of one, two or three kids (many like this in GA) and you have a 2007 pickup you're making payments on.
Look at the plans. Remember you make $13K a year (gross) if they don't lay you off or have cutbacks and NO employer health insurance is offered (remember the President recently gave employers like WalMart & McDonalds a couple of years extra to get on board-- no fines)
Try to find a plan you qualify for and see what your cost would be. Put in 30K /year and you'll see you have a pretty good silver plan you can afford. Try 50K. Try 25K. Then put in the real number for this experiment, 13K or 14K-- BOOM you don't qualify for assistance, it says consult Medicare.
You go to Medicare and look at qualifications. Your earnings may say OK, but you have a truck (valued at 7K) to get to work and you've scraped up $3000 in your checking account to pay your own bills and have a little emergency fund. BOOM-- this is not for you.
BCBS of GA has now (in the last three years) shot up to $1300/month for private insurance for your family (with high deductibles BTW so if you got sick you still couldn't afford the doctor bill). You make $1100 / month and Social Security taxes you for $100, GA taxes you a little, you have truck payments, rent, food, clothes,$3.50/gal gas, high utility payments for bad winters. Even if your life was FREE, you wouldn't make enough to buy a bronze plan.
SERIOUSLY, be a good citizen and put yourself in someone shoes to see what they see. Health facilitators are seeing this all over the county after the talk stopped in Oct and the signups began. They didn't know what to do and just told folks they were supposed to be helping, "Sorry :("
OK now all the high hopes look impossible. I doubt if the supporters of the ACA intended this, but this is what happened after what started out as the President's original campaign proposal of a One Payer system (shutting down the insurance companies, having Mega MediCare & a 8% employee tax matched by an 8% employer tax (another SS)) got morphed into this morass, leaving you to figure it out.
Good luck out there.
Thanks for clarifying..........I have used healthcare and pretty much got the same results as you..........