COMMITTEE on WAYS and MEANS

Chairman Dave Camp

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The Democrats’ New Marriage Penalty

PelosiCare Punishes Married Couples, Favors Singles

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Washington, Dec 17, 2009 | comments

It’s been well-documented how PelosiCare would harm seniors and taxpayers.  But what has not been discussed is how the bill would punish married couples.  Consider this:

 

The House Democrats’ health bill (H.R. 3962) would set the maximum health insurance premium amounts that low and moderate income individuals and married couples could pay each year.  These families and individuals would be eligible to receive so-called “affordability credits,” which would cover the difference between the actual cost of health coverage and the cap on premiums. 

Sounds good, right? 

Well, not if you are a married couple. 

As shown in the table below, individuals would receive significantly more financial assistance than married couples, essentially punishing people for getting married.



 (Click to Enlarge)
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1. Federal Poverty Levels are projected figures for 2016 estimated by the Congressional Research Service based on CBO’s projections for the Consumer Price Index in 2016.  All calculations of maximum premium amounts were made assuming that the Health Choices Commissioner would use exact percentages rather than rounding.  Under HR 3962, 145% of FPL corresponds with a maximum premium amount that is 2.56% of income.
2. Under HR 3962, 215% of FPL corresponds with a maximum premium amount that is 6.25% of income.
3. This example compared the maximum premium exposure for two individuals ($870) versus one married couple ($2,125). 
4. Under HR 3962, 213% of FPL corresponds with a maximum premium amount that is 6.15% of income.
5. Under HR 3962, 316% of FPL corresponds with a maximum premium amount that is 10.32% of income.
6. This example compared the maximum premium exposure for two individuals ($3,076) versus one married couple ($5,160).
7. Under HR 3962, 272% of FPL corresponds with a maximum premium amount that is 8.88% of income.
8. Under HR 3962, those with income over 400% of FPL are not eligible for affordability credits.
9. This example compared the maximum premium exposure for two individuals ($5,684) versus the amount CBO estimates as the average annual family premium in 2016 for the cheapest plan available under HR 3962 ($15,000).

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