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GOP Says Obamacare Undermines Marriage

A Picture of Abby Coleman Abby Coleman
10/28/2011

“The result of linking the tax credit to the federal poverty level is that two individuals who make between $61,600 and $91,200 in 2014 will not benefit from the tax credit if they decide to marry, but both individuals can qualify for the tax credit if they remain unmarried or if they decide to divorce,” the report states.

The report also found that the health care law would lead to employers dropping their health care coverage because employees would be able to earn “sizable health insurance tax credits” by seeking coverage through an insurance exchange. Such a move would greatly increase the federal budget deficit, the report states.

The Washington Examiner

October 28, 2011

Susan Ferrechio

House Republicans, eager to repeal the nation’s new health care reform law, released a report Thursday claiming that a new tax penalty included in the reforms will discourage people from getting married.

The Republican-led House Government Oversight and Reform panel issued the 22-page report to coincide with a hearing at which witnesses offered mostly critical critiques of the health care law drafted and passed by Democrats in 2009.

The report concludes that only 2 million of 60 million couples would be eligible within the next decade to receive a health insurance tax credit under President Obama’s health care law.

“The evidence suggests, therefore, that Obamacare introduces a substantial new marriage penalty into the tax code,” the report states. “Over time, [the law’s] marriage penalty will directly cause fewer individuals to marry.”

Republicans have made repealing the health care reform law a top priority and have conducted hearings and passed legislation in the House aimed at disassembling the reforms even as they are being implemented by the Obama administration.

But the GOP has made very little headway. Since recapturing control of the House in the 2010 elections, Republicans have only managed to repeal a single health care provision, one that would have increased small-business reporting requirements to the Internal Revenue Service. Yet, even the White House supported that change.

The remainder of the law, which will mandate coverage for all and provide subsidies for lower-income earners, remains intact.

The report released Thursday added a new twist to the effort to repeal the reforms, concluding that the health care law would encourage people to stay single or even get divorced so they could claim the health care tax credit that will be available to those earning between 133 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Married couples with combined incomes are less likely to qualify for the tax credit.

“The result of linking the tax credit to the federal poverty level is that two individuals who make between $61,600 and $91,200 in 2014 will not benefit from the tax credit if they decide to marry, but both individuals can qualify for the tax credit if they remain unmarried or if they decide to divorce,” the report states.

The report also found that the health care law would lead to employers dropping their health care coverage because employees would be able to earn “sizable health insurance tax credits” by seeking coverage through an insurance exchange. Such a move would greatly increase the federal budget deficit, the report states.

Health care subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said the health care law “introduces another major inequity into the tax code, effectively encouraging employers and workers to drop employer-sponsored insurance and pass these costs to taxpayers. Additionally, the law adds a large marriage tax penalty and discourages job growth.”

But committee Democrats, citing Kaiser Family Foundation statistics, said nine of every 10 uninsured families have income levels below 400 percent of the poverty level and would benefit from both the tax credits and the expansion of Medicaid offered to those earning below 133 percent of the poverty rate.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md, chided Republicans for failing to propose their own plan to help the uninsured.

“Instead,” he said, “it appears they prefer to return to having no health insurance and higher health care costs for millions of Americans.”

1 Comments

  1. von June 28, 2012

    Our government already punishes couples. If one is on medicare, they may be denied alot of benefits one could qualify for as a single. You would have to include your spouses income and it would cause you to be denied. Because of this it already discourages couples from getting married. The cost of getting married and being disqualified from certain benefits outweighs getting married. We barely can survive as it is, if I lost the benefits I have now, there is no way I could afford to pay the bills or buy groceries. As it is I can not pay all the bill I have. Getting married would solve alot of my emotional needs but not my day to day living needs. I have alot of medicine & medical expenses. Even with medicare it does not cover enough and I can not afford supplemental ins.

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