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  • Obamacare’s Uninvited Wedding Guest: A New Health Tax

    Does marriage provide health benefits? According to the research, it does, but not according to many in Congress. Under the Senate-passed health care bill, couples who choose to wed, or to remain wedded, will face financial penalties cohabiting couples will be spared, even if a married couple makes the exact same combined income as a cohabiting couple.

    Robert Rector explains that the “anti-marriage discrimination” found in the Senate bill is due to married couples’ income being counted jointly, reducing the amount of subsidies they can receive for health care. For example, assuming that neither Ben nor Beth, age 20, receives employer health insurance, and each makes $20,000 for a combined income of $40,000, Ben and Beth will receive the same total subsidy that an individual making $40,000 would receive. On the other hand, if Ben and Beth choose to cohabit instead, their incomes would be counted separately and each would receive the subsidy that a person making only $20,000 a year would receive. The difference in this case amounts to $4,317 a year.

    While marriage penalties exist for younger couples like Ben and Beth, the penalties are even greater for husbands and wives in their later, empty-nester years, especially those who are middle-class. For some couples, this penalty could exceed $10,000 per year. However, even lower-income couples would be hit. For example, a 60-year-old couple with a joint income of $30,000 (each making $15,000), would receive $4,000 less per year than their cohabiting counterparts.

    One Democratic Senate Finance Committee aide said, “The Finance Committee, along with other committees in the Senate, took pains to craft the most equitable overall structure possible, and that’s what we have here,” despite acknowledging the marriage penalty. Essentially, the Senate has decided that singles and cohabiters should receive preferential treatment over married couples. Considering the benefits to adults, children, and society that marriage generally brings, the government would be both wise and frugal to promote this institution, instead of discourage it. However, this would be only the newest government program to penalize people for tying the knot. Welfare programs, such as food stamps and Medicaid, include marriage disincentives as well.

    While the Senate version of the health care bill will not punish all married couples, those without employer-sponsored health insurance—exactly the people a government health care plan is targeting—and those without children, such as young couples and empty-nesters, will more than likely be negatively affected. In some cases, the penalty will be quite significant. Someone should remind Congress that a bill meant to promote the health of the nation should not include harming the societal institution most likely to promote good health.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Obamacare’s Uninvited Wedding Guest: A New Health Tax

    1. Linda California says:

      This kind of thing has been happening for years with other government programs, but that doesn't make it okay to have a marriage disincentive included in this bill. Glad you pointed it out. We are praying the healthcare bill gets scratched and are taking hope from what we hear is happening in Washington after the election in Massachusetts.

    2. Brad says:

      I can actually see a positive side to discouraging marriage. Whether it's worth the trade-off is up to each of us individually. If marriage is discouraged, only people that really believe in the institution will get married. The divorce rate might drop because only committed, stable couples would marry. If that happens, it would strengthen the meaning of getting married. The question is whether that would lead to a greater percentage of extra-marital child births, because marriage would no longer have the stabilizing effect it has now (as it would cost more to be married). If it doesn't help, there would be no reason to spend the money on a wedding. As I actually talk about it, it doesn't sound like much of a benefit, anymore.

    3. Linda California says:

      This kind of thing has been happening for years with other government programs. It is still wrong to write a marriage disincentive into this bill. Glad you pointed it out. We are praying that the healthcare bill will die and are taking hope from what we hear coming out or Washington now that Scott Brown won the election in Massachusetts.

    4. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      Corporate bailouts and "Obamacare" are some of the largest government boondoggles I've experienced in my lifetime of eleven prior administrations. There's nothing for future generations to look forward to if the democratic leadership has its way. It's absolutely shameful if not criminal.

    5. Bobbie Jay says:

      This is a government service paid with the money of private citizens! There should be no penalty for any citizen that is serviced by those who took oath to serve. What reason is there for this imbalance?

    6. David, Las Vegas says:

      One has to wonder how long the so-called “honeymoon” period between the Obama/Pelosi/Reid troika and the mainstream media is supposed to last. I am stunned to find these kinds of taxes in ANY bill that Congress in its back door deals. If nothing else, Brown’s recent victory in Massachusetts will be a shock the Administration and the rubber-stamp congress to pay attention to the mood and needs of the American taxpaying citizen. Here in Nevada, we are ready to defeat Reid in November. Now if California will get rid of Pelosi we can stop the slide down the very slippery slope Obama put us on.

    7. Jill, California says:

      This from a president who dares lecture Americans on family values. . . . It appears that Congress and Obama are intent on further destroying the family unit to make people more dependent on a socialist government.

      Well, our white knight, Scott Brown, may just put an end to these destructive plans. Thank goodness that the voters of Massachusetts spoke for the nation this week.

    8. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      Jill, don't know if you're originally from California but using certain words can send a very wrong and misleading message such as the use of "…white knight". This concern about certain words is not being PC. I fully concur, however, with your overall comment.

    9. Bobbie Jay says:

      Very Observant and very cute!

    10. knoxdunga says:

      responsible offset recent open reductions

    11. David says:

      Brad,

      Marriage rates have already been dropping over the last 40 years. Here is a chart of the decline and a technical analysis of what these means for the institution in the coming 50 years:

      http://www.the-spearhead.com/2010/01/08/the-end-o

      That said, it is ironic that the government seems to be doing nothing to slow this decline down, but only to speed it up.

    12. Amberdawn says:

      That's scary :(

    13. Pingback: BREAKING: Federal Judge Rules Proposition 8 Unconstitutional - Page 8 - Christian Forums

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