Obamacare’s Marriage Penalty

The Kiss

Isn’t it bad enough that the current federal tax code is full of provisions that penalize married couples with a “marriage penalty?” Now, to add insult to injury, Obamacare (the recently enacted federal healthcare scheme) will also have its “marriage penalty:”

The latest unintended consequence of President Obama’s health care law could be a lower marriage rate, according to the staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The committee recently released a study claiming a marriage penalty within Obama’s law could lead to fewer marriages once the law is implemented . . .

The marriage penalty is a result of how Obama’s law allocates tax credits for purchasing health insurance. According to the committee staff, based on estimates from the Joint Taxation Committee, “married couples will receive only 14 percent of the PPACA’s tax credits. At most, only two million married couples (out of nearly 60 million married couples) are projected to benefit from the health insurance tax credit in any year through 2021.”

“Obamacare introduces a substantial new marriage penalty into the tax code. Over time, PPACA’s marriage penalty will directly cause fewer individuals to marry,” the report found . . .

Another factor driving PPACA’s marriage penalty is the interpretation of the law denying premium subsidies to a worker’s family if the worker’s employer offers “affordable” insurance for self-only health insurance coverage. Under regulations recently proposed by HHS, as long as an employer offers self-only insurance coverage that is less than 9.5 percent of household income, the family does not qualify for tax credits, regardless of how much a family policy would cost.

According to the report, these aspects of PPACA strongly favor single individuals over those who are married.

I think this government study is being overly generous by calling this an “unintended consequence” of Obamacare. I think you have to really wonder if there are folks in the federal government who don’t like marriage . . .