Tag Archives: Tax

New study finds that many young people won’t purchase Obamacare plans

Dr. David Hogberg of the National Center for Public Policy Research explains how Obamacare affects young people.

Here’s the executive summary:

If the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges are to function properly, it is crucial that a substantial number of people ages 18-34 join them. This age group that is young and relatively healthy must purchase health insurance on the exchanges in order to “cross-subsidize” people who are older and sicker. Without the young and healthy, the exchanges will enter a “death spiral” where only the older and sicker participate and price of insurance premiums will increase precipitously.

This study finds that in 2014 many single people aged 18-34 who do not have children will have a substantial financial incentive to forego insurance on the exchanges and instead pay the individual mandate penalty of $95 or one percent of income. About 3.7 million of those ages 18-34 will be at least $500 better off if they forgo insurance and pay the penalty. More than 3 million will be $1,000 better off if they go the same route. This raises the likelihood that an insufficient number of young and healthy people will participate in the exchanges, thereby leading to a death spiral. 

The design of the plan is to tax younger, healthier people – especially men – in order to obtain the money to pay for heavy users of health care.

To compel the young and healthy to purchase insurance, the architects of ObamaCare included an individual mandate that requires individuals to either buy insurance or pay a penalty. The penalty, which increases over time, is whichever is greater: $95 or one percent of income in 2014, $325 or two percent of income in 2015, and $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016 and thereafter.

[…]The gender breakdown of these individuals presents another problem. Women have higher rates of health utilization than men, including more visits to primary-care physicians and greater use of diagnostic tests and emergency care. However, as Table 3 shows, roughly two-thirds of the individuals for whom insurance will cost at least $1,000 more than the fine are men.

Hard to see why any young man would have voted Democrat, and yet many did. Did they know that they were voting for a tax on themselves at a time when many of them are poorly educated by government-run schools, and can’t even find jobs? How can you pay a fine for not having health care when you don’t have a proper education or a proper job?

The net effect of the “community rating” and “guaranteed issue” provisions of Obamacare will be to raise health insurance premiums and force private companies to stop offering plans:

If the exchanges do not attract a sufficient number of people in the 18-34 age demographic, they will eventually enter an insurance “death spiral.” This occurs when the young and healthy drop out of the “insurance pool.” This leads to “adverse selection” in which insurance is only attractive to those who are generally older and sicker. If the insurance pool is comprised largely of people who are older and sicker, then insurance prices will rise to cover their costs. That rate increase causes even more young and healthy people drop their insurance, leaving the pools even older and sicker than before, and so on. Eventually, all but a few insurers will be forced to discontinue their business on the exchanges because they can no longer make a profit. Fewer insurers means less competition, resulting in even higher insurance premiums.

Community rating and guaranteed issue are catalysts for a death spiral. In its strictest form, community rating means that insurers must charge everyone the same premium, regardless of factors such as health status and age. Guaranteed issue means that an insurer must sell a policy to a consumer anytime.

Under ObamaCare, the exchanges use a modified version of both of these regulations. Its form of community rating doesn’t allow insurers to vary rates based on health status. It does allow, however, for modification of premiums if one smokes and to compensate for age (although in a more restricted manner than the market currently does). Regarding guaranteed issue, insurers must sell policies to all comers but (with a few exceptions) only during the annual open enrollment period from October to December.

Both of these rules give young and healthy people big incentives to forgo insurance coverage altogether. Community rating means young people have a reduced incentive to buy insurance since they will pay a premium that is above the market rate. Many who are currently purchasing insurance in the individual market, for example, will see a substantial premium increase if they switch to the exchange.

In a market without guaranteed issue, consumers run the risk of insurers not selling them policies when they get seriously ill. But that risk is largely gone under the exchanges. For instance, a young person who gets a serious illness in June only has to wait until October to sign up for insurance and then wait until January 1 of the next year to receive coverage. Combined, community rating and guaranteed issue give the young and healthy big incentives to forgo insurance until they are sick.

“Community rating” and “guaranteed issue” have actually already been tried at the state level. What happened then?

This:

The late Conrad Meier, then a senior fellow in health care policy for the Heartland Institute, examined what happened when these two regulations were instituted on the state level in his 2005 monograph “Destroying Insurance Markets.” In the early 1990s eight states — Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Washington — imposed community rating and guaranteed issue on their individual insurance markets. The result, according to Meier, was the above-described death spiral.

For example, in 1992 the New Jersey legislature adopted community rating and guaranteed issue rules for its individual insurance market with the passage of the “Individual Health Coverage Program.” The monthly premium for family coverage from Aetna rose from $769 in 1994 to $6,005 in 2005, a whopping increase of 683 percent! Other insurers saw similar increases.

Before the reforms began, there were about 28 insurers covering the New Jersey individual market. By 2007 there were only seven. According to the Census Bureau, the number of people in New Jersey’s individual market fell from about 998,000 in 1994 to 630,000 in 2005, a decline of 37 percent.

It’s pretty clear that Obamacare was designed to replicate this same effect that’s been observed in states at a national level, paving the way for single payer health care. What will Americans think when their healthcare is controlled by the kind of people who run USPS, Amtrak, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the IRS? 

Democrat senator Barbara Boxer introduces carbon tax legislation

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

Today, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a bill to levy a carbon tax. But, back on Nov. 15 of last year, Pres. Obama’s press secretary promised the administration would “never” do so.

According to Reuters, the new tax law “would set a $20 tax for each ton of carbon dioxide equivalent a polluter would emit beyond a set limit, which would rise 5.6 percent annually over a 10-year period.”

Last November, however, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that would never happen:

“We would never propose a carbon tax, and have no intention of proposing one.  The point the President was making is that our focus right now is the same as the American people’s focus, which is on the need to extend economic growth, expand job creation.  And task number one is dealing with these deadlines that pose real challenges to our economy, as he talked about yesterday.”

“A carbon tax will skyrocket [the] price of everything,” a statement from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, warned today:

“It’s not just energy prices that would skyrocket from a carbon tax, the cost of nearly everything built in America would go up.”

The cost of everything is already going up because of inflation. This carbon tax is just going to make it worse, especially for the poor.

Middle class tax rate set to rise to nearly 50% in January 2013

From the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog.

Excerpt:

A middle-class taxpayer’s income is subject to a 25 percent federal income tax. Then there is the federal Social Security and Medicare payroll tax of 13.3 percent in 2012—5.65 percent of that is removed from the employee’s paycheck, and the remaining 7.65 percent is paid by the employer. (In reality, the employee pays the entire 13.3 percent, because the employer’s portion of the tax does not affect the cost of labor: The employer would pay the employee 7.65 percent more if there were no employer’s portion of the payroll tax.)

So the 25 percent federal income tax plus 13.3 Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes equals 38.3 percent going to federal taxes in 2012.

And then there are state taxes. According to the Tax Foundation, the average state’s income tax rate for the middle-class taxpayer is 4.82 percent, which brings the total to 43.12 percent in federal and state taxes. And it’s going higher, thanks to the nearly $500 billion in tax increases for 2013 that some have called Taxmageddon. In January of next year, the federal income tax rate for middle-class taxpayers is scheduled to rise from 25 percent to 28 percent, and the payroll tax is scheduled to rise from 13.3 percent to 15.3 percent. This drives the marginal tax rate based on the aforementioned three taxes to 48.12 percent. Add in state and local property, corporate, excise, and other state and local taxes, and the percentage of each additional dollar that is taxed hovers around 50 percent.

When half of each additional dollar earned is taxed away, taxpayers experience a disincentive to start businesses or expand existing ones. This leads to fewer jobs being created.

It is outrageous that any dollar earned by a middle-class taxpayer would go as much to taxes as to supporting the taxpayer’s family. The government didn’t earn the taxpayer’s paycheck and shouldn’t be entitled to it.

People like me really do think about things like this – about getting up and going to work every day to earn half of what I am worth. Of giving up half my salary so that the Georgetown University student can have free contraception paid for by me. I am one of those people who pays about 45% of my income (federal, state and local) in taxes. If I had more of my own money, I could be following my own dreams – maybe to do a Ph.D and teach, or start a business, or become a minister. But those things can’t happen, because people keep voting for more and more benefits for themselves on my back – so that they don’t have to be burdened to make the decisions that it takes to take care of themselves and their families.

That’s what being a Democrat means – it means persisting in perpetual adolescence at the expense of people like me. It means taking away my dreams so that they can have my standard of living without having to work or play by the rules. Being a Democrat means piling up trillions of dollars of debt onto people who haven’t even been born – so that feminists can have free contraceptives. That’s what a Democrat is.

Are people who don’t pay any federal taxes “paying their fair share”?

The top 20% paid 94.1% of all income taxes in 2009
The top 20% paid 94.1% of all income taxes in 2009

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

The proportion of those paying no income taxes continues to hit higher highs — a trend that will ultimately make lowering taxes and reducing government impossible.

For decades, “fairness” has been liberal Democrats’ outcry against demands for lower taxes. The rich, President Obama endlessly contends, don’t pay “their fair share.”

It’s about as far from the truth as you can get. As the Congressional Budget Office showed in a new report on the distribution of household income and federal taxes, the rich are getting hit by the taxman harder than ever.

As CNBC reporter Robert Frank put it, the top 1% that Obama complains about “paid an average effective tax rate of 28.9% on their income — far more than any other group, and more than twice the average effective rate of the middle class, who paid 11% on average.”

Beyond that, however, is the fact that more Americans who are nowhere near to being rich are paying no taxes at all on the money they take in — which means they have no interest in getting our ever-expanding government leviathan under control.

A new study from the Tax Foundation found the number of those filing tax returns who pay no income taxes now numbers over 58 million, amounting to a staggering 41% of all tax returns. Compare that with 1990, when only about 21% of tax returns were found to have no tax liability.

What’s more, the median income of these nonpayers has increased by 40% in just nine years. “The threshold at which a typical married couple with two children will likely be a nonpayer is now $47,000,” the Tax Foundation found.

It’s remarkable to me that people complain about the rich not paying taxes. The rich are the only ones who pay taxes. Half the country has no federal tax liability at all. The top 50% of taxpayers are paying almost ALL the federal taxes. According to the Congressional Budget Office data in the image above, the top 20% of taxpayers paid 94.1% of all taxes. That data is echoed by data from the Internal Revenue Service.

Is that fair?

How can anyone look at these numbers and honestly claim that “the rich”, by which the leftists mean the most productive entrepreneurs and workers, are “not paying their fair share” of taxes? THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO PAY TAXES.

Keith Hennessey explains one strategy for undoing Obamacare

In the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled ObamaCare’s individual mandate constitutional, the direction of American health policy is in the hands of voters. So how do we get from here to “repeal and replace”?

Step one is electing Mitt Romney as president, along with Republican House and Senate majorities. Without a Republican sweep, the law will remain in place.

But a President Romney does not need 60 Republican senators to repeal core elements of ObamaCare. Democrats lost their 60th senate vote in early 2010 after Scott Brown took Edward Kennedy’s seat. To bypass a Senate GOP filibuster and enact portions of ObamaCare, they used a special legislative procedure called reconciliation.

Reconciliation allows a bill to pass the Senate in a limited time period, with limited amendments, and with only 51 votes; filibusters are not permitted. In 2010, Democrats split their health-policy changes into two bills, one of which they enacted through this fast-track process. In 2013, a Republican majority could use the same reconciliation process to repeal those changes.

The reconciliation process, however, applies only to legislative changes to taxes, spending and debt, or the change must be a “necessary term or condition” of another provision that affects taxes or spending.

Crucial parts of ObamaCare meet this test. Thus, if a President Romney has cohesive and coordinated majorities in the House and Senate, a reconciliation bill could repeal the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, insurance premium and drug subsidies, tax increases (all 21 or them), Medicare and Medicaid spending cuts, its long-term care insurance program known as the Class Act, and its Independent Payment Advisory Board, a 15-member central committee with vast powers to control health-care and health markets.

Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that the financial penalty enforcing the individual mandate is within Congress’s constitutional power to “lay and collect Taxes,” and that the mandate and penalty are inextricably linked. This should suffice to enable repeal, through reconciliation, of both the individual and employer mandates, and their respective penalty taxes.

The state exchanges and insurance rules—”guaranteed issue,” which forces an insurer to sell a policy to someone who is already sick, and “community rating,” which severely limits the insurer’s right to charge that person a higher premium—are procedurally more difficult. Yet both are linked to the individual mandate, which increases taxes. Whether they can be repealed in a reconciliation bill will ultimately be decided by the Senate Parliamentarian.

Once the individual mandate is repealed, these popular insurance changes cannot stand by themselves. Without the mandate, people have every incentive to save on premiums and not buy insurance until they fall ill. This will send premiums through the roof for healthy people and, if the government clamps down on increased premiums, destroy private insurance companies. Those Republicans who say they favor legislated guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements but oppose the mandate will be forced to acknowledge that all three must go.

So, for those who are concerned about repealing Obamacare, this is the way forward. We have a tough battle to get it it done, but it is possible.