How to repeal and replace: From a tax to tax credits
Obamacare may be constitutional but it isn’t the answer. A refundable tax credit is.

The Supreme Court has just told us that ObamaCare's mandate to buy health insurance is constitutional under the government's taxing authority, but this decision will not settle the debate. Republicans have vowed to repeal and replace ObamaCare-and if Mitt Romney wins the presidency, they just might succeed. But Republicans have been vague about the replacement. Here's a suggestion: Replace ObamaCare with a refundable tax credit funded by taxing employer-provided health insurance.

Each year, some Americans contract a dire illness or suffer a serious injury but can't pay their medical bills. They usually still get treatment, but the costs are passed on to the rest of society. Sometimes taxpayers pick up the tab. Other times, hospitals and doctors absorb the cost, which shows up in higher health insurance premiums for all of us. To address this challenge and move towards universal coverage, Congress should tax employer-provided health insurance and use the revenue to offer a refundable tax credit that will empower the uninsured to purchase coverage against catastrophic health costs.

As the government correctly argued in the ObamaCare case, in a very real sense everyone is in the market for catastrophic medical care every year. We all face the risk of getting cancer or being hit by a bus, and no one would be refused needed treatment. Some of us pay for that treatment in advance by buying health insurance. Others do not insure, creating the risk that much of their costs will be passed on to the rest of society-a risk that is often realized.

Read the full article at The American.

Michael R. Strain is a research fellow at AEI.

 

 

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About the Author

 

Michael R.
Strain
  • Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he studies labor economics, public finance, and applied microeconomics. His research has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals and in the policy journals Tax Notes and National Affairs. Dr. Strain also writes frequently for popular audiences on topics including labor market policy, jobs, minimum wages, federal tax and budget policy, and the Affordable Care Act, among others.  His essays and op-eds have been published by National Review, The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic, Forbes, Bloomberg View, and a variety of other outlets. He is frequently interviewed by major media outlets, and speaks often on college campuses. Before joining AEI he worked on the research team of the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program and was the manager of the New York Census Research Data Center, both at the U.S. Census Bureau.  Dr. Strain began his career in the macroeconomics research group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  He is a graduate of Marquette University, and holds an M.A. from New York University and a Ph.D. from Cornell.


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