“We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” -House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, March 2010
These infamous words take on a new meaning as we continue to discover more implications of the 2,800 page health care reform law, commonly referred to as ObamaCare.
Today in The Wall Street Journal, Daniel Kessler writes how ObamaCare impacts yet another part of our lives: it actually “punishes work.” How?
Kessler points to the government-funded subsidies designed to Americans purchase health care coverage. With the onset of government-run health care exchanges in 2014, the cost of coverage will grow so much that government will offer subsidies to help citizens buy insurance. However, as incomes rise for individuals and families, the amount of their government subsidies will decrease. Kessler explains the damaging impact of such a sliding scale:
“Consider a wife in a family with $90,000 in income. If she were to earn an additional $3,700, her family would lose the insurance subsidy and be more than $10,000 poorer. In addition, she would also pay more in income and Social Security taxes. Taken together, these policies impose a substantial punishment on work effort.”
In effect, the law will punish those who earn more. As the example above shows, families and individuals will all too often be incentivized to remain in lower income brackets to qualify for higher government insurance subsidies.
Kessler closes with this poignant question:
“For middle-income families, should economic success be determined by work and savings, or by participation in a government program?”
Is this what Congress was hoping to find when they passed the law?