One of the many things people failed to fully realize about Obamacare until after its passage is that it discourages marriage. Heavily.

A subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing Thursday, October 27 aptly entitled “Examining Obamacare's Hidden Marriage Penalty & Its Impact On The Deficit.”

Out of four witnesses present, three agreed the Affordable Care Act needs reformed to eliminate this penalty. This ratio is nearly in lockstep with the American public – 79 percent of voters say the marriage penalty in Obamacare is unfair, polls say.

Diane Furchtgott-Roth, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, said that it discourages women to marry -- and discourages them from working once they are married. She said in her testimony:

Say Sally is a single mother earning $44,130, putting her and her baby at 300 percent of the poverty line. They would be eligible for the health insurance premium assistance credit. But what if she wants to marry Sam, the father of her child, who earns $43,560, and is at 400 percent of the federal poverty line? Their total earnings, at $87,690, would exceed the 400 percent poverty line for a family of three ($74,120). Married, they would no longer receive help with their health insurance premiums, despite both earning the credit when unmarried.

Furchtgott-Roth believes that the government needs to be encouraging marriage instead: "It makes healthier families and smarter children," she said during the question and answer period.

What's important to understand about these figures is that the subsidies provided by Obamacare are based on income relative to the poverty line. An editorial by The Washington Times gives an example of what this means:

The subsidies are suddenly and completely cut off once somebody reaches 400 percent of the official poverty-level income ($63,360 in 2016). The arithmetic is complicated, but what it means is that two unmarried persons earning $32,000 each ($64,000 total) would pay a maximum combined $5,684 in premiums, but if they got married, they would pay about $15,000. That is an astonishing penalty of 164 percent. It is almost impossible to imagine a policy that could be any more anti-family than that.

Mary Crookston

Mary Crookston is a editorial intern.