By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Republicans have been criticizing President Obama’s omnibus effort to reform the American healthcare system since the early months of the 2008 election.
Republicans have accused “Obamacare” of: being responsible for raising insurance rates, trampling on religious liberty, being too costly, trampling on individual liberty, raising taxes, trampling on the doctor patient relationship, being ineptly administered, rewarding a lack of initiative, doing nothing about reducing medical liabilities, forcing employers to reduce employee hours, policy cancellations, etc.
On Monday, Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead attacked Obamacare for penalizing married people and discouraging marriage. These conclusions were based on the release of a Heritage Society study.
Chairman Armistead said,
“It is unacceptable for the government to launch such an attack on the sacred act of marriage. Legislation like ObamaCare is taking a devastating affect on our nation. We should be promoting intact family units, not punishing them!”
The Heritage Society wrote,
“The law is structured to provide less support to a husband and wife than it would to the same couple if they were cohabiting. In essence, it will tax married couples to fund the benefits it provides to couples who cohabit, divorce, or never marry. The impact of this discrimination will affect couples at every income level and and creates a scenario in which couples’ wisest financial decision would be to divorce or forgo tying the knot.”
The Heritage Society continued,
“America has already seen a 50 percent decline in the marriage rate since the 1970s and a tenfold increase in cohabitation. If Obamacare exacerbates this decline, many more Americans could miss out on the positive effects that marriage has for both men and women. Children, in particular, will suffer amidst continued family dissolution regarding poverty, physical and emotional health, and the likelihood of success.”
The Alabama Political Reporter has tested this theory using an Affordable Care Act subsidy calculator available on the Kaiser Family Foundation website.
For example: a theoretical couple living in Jefferson County, age 44 and 37 making $45,000 and $25,000 can purchase silver plans for $295 and $144 (she qualifies for a $1410 subsidy). If they were a married couple their premium would be $558 a month. Not marrying saves that couple $1429 a year.
Different income and age scenarios vary the results wildly but in no scenario that we tested was there no marriage penalty. Persons making more than 400% of the federal poverty line will generally be better off buying health insurance off of the exchange.
According to the Heritage Society, “Without the benefits of an intact family, children are 82 percent more likely to live in poverty and tend to fare worse on a wide range of economic measures. In their teens, they are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors such as sexual activity, substance abuse, and anti-social behavior. They also tend to fare worse on emotional and psychological outcomes and have lower levels of academic achievement and educational attainment.”
If a couple chooses to live together to get better insurance rates instead of marrying, would that potentially create a tax issue? There is a strong possibility that that could be potential tax evasion and collecting that subsidy money that was fraudulently applied for is an IRS responsibility.
Chairman Armistead wrote on Monday, “Alabamians are getting hit hard. We have received many calls to our office, emails and social media posts from hard-working people concerned about how they are going to get by. ObamaCare is crushing our country. Obama made promises and he has failed to deliver.”
Chairman Armistead wrote, “ObamaCare is clearly not working and something needs to be done.” “None of us could have imagined just a few years ago that we would have a President who would push through Congress, without a single Republican vote, a law mandating that every American must purchase health care insurance or be fined. That is just plain un-American! It’s ObamaCare Tyranny.”
The Administration is hopeful that the website will be up and running efficiently in early by mid November. Americans who do not purchase a policy will be subject to a fine of $95 or 1% of their income, whichever is greater.