The mandate is the tax. It transfers the obligation to pay for all the medical bills of every citizen without insurance from the general treasury to every individual. The penalty is for not paying the tax.
The penalty will not stand alone. The government never lets you pay a penalty for not paying your taxes and at the same time forgives your taxes. You must pay both. It is coming. If you don't have a plan they will charge you for the plan, probably the bronze level plan, then assess a penalty and garnish your wages or seize your assets.
The plan includes your premium payment, your co-pays and you deductible. For a bronze plan that could be about 20,0000 out of pocket. Guess what the IRS will do to collect the premium, the co-pay, the deductible and incidental uncovered expenses. Yiup, you got it, garnish your wages, seize your assets.
Your children can stay on your plan until 26. The age at which young men are at risk of something other then dying violently (and running up expensive trauma bills). Sound great. Except, you MUST keep them on your policy. So there you are minding your own business when the IRS calls to tell you your estranged son or daughter has been injured, got sick, and has a medical bill of 100,000 at some hospital seven states away. So, they want you to right a check for the deductible, the full years premiums, the co-pays and incidentals, and penalties since you estranged offspring wasn't covered under your insurance but should have been. They are asking this, but they don't care because they got you. They will garnish your wages and seize your assets. For something you have no contol over.
It isn't about creating a better system of delivering medical care. PPACA aka ObamaCare is about crushing individuals.
Oh, next year with an election coming up do you really think that businesses won't be able to buy another reprieve from the mandate?