Hidden in Obama's health care bill is a huge marriage penalty. Both the Senate and House bills would set up yet another federal program to provide financial incentives to subsidize marriage avoidance and illegitimate offspring.
Even though all evidence shows that marriage is the best remedy for poverty, lack of health care, domestic violence, child abuse and school dropouts, federal welfare programs continue to discriminate against marriage and instead give taxpayer handouts to those who reject marriage. This isn't any accident -- it is a central part of the Democrats' political strategy that produced 70 percent of unmarried women voting for Obama for president in 2008.
Conservatives have been exchanging email for weeks about the shocking fact that Obama's health care bill discriminates against marriage while financially favoring unmarried couples living together. This fact is finally getting national attention, at least in The Wall Street Journal and on Fox News.
Here is the cost in the House bill for an unmarried couple who each earn $25,000 a year (total: $50,000). When they both buy health insurance (which will be mandatory), the combined premiums they pay will be capped at $3,076 a year.
But if the couple gets married and has the same combined income of $50,000, they will pay annual premiums up to a cap of $5,160 a year. That means they have to fork over a marriage penalty of $2,084.
The marriage penalty is the result of the fact that government subsidies for buying health insurance are pegged to the federal poverty guidelines. Couples that remain unmarried are rewarded with a separate health care subsidy for each income.
When the Wall Street Journal reporter quizzed the Democratic authors of the health-care bill, they made it clear that this differential was deliberate. The staffer justified the discriminatory treatment because "you have to decide what your goals are."
Indeed, the Democrats have decided what their goals are. They know that 70 percent of unmarried women voted for Obama in 2008, and the Democrats plan to reward this group with health insurance subsidies.
The House staffer told the Wall Street Journal reporter that the Democratics can't make the subsidies neutral toward marriage because that would give a traditional one-breadwinner married couple a more generous subsidy than a single parent at the same income level. Horrors! The Democrats certainly are not going to allow traditional marriage to be preferred over couples who just shack up!
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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