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Health law may penalize some

Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 12:00 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO (AP) — Some Native Americans in Illinois may have to pay a fine if they're uninsured under the nation's health care law — even if they're entitled under other federal obligations to free health care.

It's unclear how many Indians in the state would fall into the law's gray area and be subject to financial penalties for being uninsured.

Jay Stiener of the National Council of Urban Indian Health says Indians in Chicago are likely to be affected. He says urban Indians may have been disconnected from their tribes for years and may face steep hurdles to tribal membership.

The Affordable Care Act's tax penalty for an uninsured individual, when fully phased in, will be $695. The law exempts enrolled members of federally recognized tribes from the fine.

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