Archive for the ‘Health Care’ Category

If You Have High Income, Your Taxes Are Going Up

As the April 15 deadline for filing 2013 income taxes nears, most of us are finding that Uncle Sam will take about the same share of our income as last year. But the story is very different for people at the top of the income ladder. Their taxes are going up, in many cases by […]

A Web Tool to Calculate ACA Tax Penalties

The deadline is looming: If you don’t have approved insurance coverage by March 31 (and are not exempt from the requirement), the Affordable Care Act will hit you with a penalty on your 2014 income tax return. It is often said the tax is $95, but for many people it will be much more. A […]

How 19 Million Uninsured Tax Filers Could Get ACA Coverage

Back in November, I suggested that tax prep firms might be a useful portal for low-income people to get insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The idea: Since many key ACA-related issues are income-based, commercial tax prep is an easy way for folks to learn whether they are eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage, how […]

Why Not Use Tax Preparers as a Portal to Health Exchanges?

What if we bought individual health insurance through our tax preparers? At first, the idea seems bizarre, but give me a minute to explain. Given the well-known problems of HealthCare.gov and many of the state health exchanges, people seeking insurance coverage need a better way to buy. And commercial alternatives to government sites seem an […]

How Big is the Penalty if You Don’t Get Health Insurance?

Stories about the Affordable Care Act often tell readers that they’ll have to pay a $95 penalty if they don’t get adequate health insurance coverage. But, like a lot of other things I read about the health law, that’s not quite correct. The penalty (which the Supreme Court said is actually a tax) could be […]

Would the Government be Shuttered if Obamacare were Romneycare?

Enrollment in the new health care exchanges begins today and the government is partially shut down in protest—never mind that Obamacare funding is largely immune to the shutdown. The Republicans in the House appear to be getting most of the blame for the shutdown because they insist that continued government funding be tied to at […]

Is Obamacare the GOP’s White Whale?

 “The White Whale swam before him as the monomaniac incarnation of all those malicious agencies which some deep men feel eating in them…All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up in the lee of things;…all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all evil…visibly personified …and made practically assailable in Moby Dick” […]

Do Low-Income Taxpayers Cheat?

My blog last Tuesday on overblown concerns about people falsely claiming subsides under the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges generated a lot of response. Much focused on my assertion that the income tax system operates remarkably well as a largely voluntary program. Their retort: I naively misjudged the willingness of low-income people to cheat. In […]

Will Obamacare Delays Encourage Health Exchange Cheating?

The latest flap over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act involves the ability of the IRS to verify the income people use to calculate their health exchange subsidy.  While critics of Obamacare warn darkly that this will cause massive cheating, it appears that there is much less to the matter of delayed income verification […]

Will the Slowdown in Health Cost Growth Change the Budget Debate?

Upon these three facts everyone agrees:  1) After a long period of explosive increases, health cost growth has slowed markedly in recent years. 2) A share of the slowdown is partially, but not entirely, due to the recent economic slump.  3) If future medical costs continue to grow at their current low rate the federal […]