It will be interesting soon to see how people (and employers) respond to the opening of the insurance exchanges soon. It is evident that even with financial help for those who really cannot afford even the cheapest plans, some people will not participate. Some people will not participate for ideological reasons; making a decision to go without medical insurance rather than becoming part of something they oppose for political, philosophical or, perhaps, for religious reasons. Others may not sign up because they don't know what is happening and may simply fail to respond, for lack of knowledge or, perhaps, lack of literacy.
To my students: do you think some hospitals and other medical care providers may pull back on providing care (beyond what they are legally obligated to provide, such as under the EMTALA law), to people and families that have decided to pay the fine rather than to buy insurance? Will it become more "ethical" or acceptable to say "no" to individuals with no insurance under the new circumstances? There are people and families who use emergency departments of hospitals as their primary care providers and do not pay for the services they continue to receive in emergency departments, by choice. Do you think the availability of the insurance exchanges will change the point at which hospitals say, "no more" to those without insurance?