What exactly does the mandate mean? Does it mean that uninsured people won't go into debt, but they'll pay a fine instead? (If they can afford said fine, otherwise, it's like really cheap or nothing, from what I've heard. Though hopefully there will be some sort of cheap or free insurance for people who can't pay, maybe medicaid expansion like I have heard was considered) I doubt it means that uninsured people would be in debt AND pay a fine.... that wouldn't make sense. And I am aware all the reforms don't quite go into effect for a while yet. I don't wanna debate whether ACA is good or bad, but I just want some answers.