Terry Jeffrey

Obamacare attacks the liberty and financial viability of the traditional family, and nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the system of federal subsidies it puts in place starting next year.

This system rewards people who don't marry, don't work and don't take care of their own children. It punishes people who do marry, work hard and take care of their own children.

Under Obamacare, the federal government orders all Americans to have health insurance. Households with adjusted gross incomes of less than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) will go on government-run Medicaid, and households with adjusted gross incomes between 100 percent and 400 percent of FPL can qualify for a subsidy to help them buy their government-mandated health insurance -- provided they do not qualify for Medicaid in their state and their employer does not offer them coverage.

As explained by the Congressional Research Service, the subsidy -- which is technically a refundable tax credit -- works as a cap on the percentage of income the household can be made to pay in annual health insurance premiums if they buy a "Silver" plan on their state exchange. (The exchanges will sell Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze plans, with Bronze being the cheapest and Platinum the most expensive.) If someone with a subsidy buys a more expensive plan, they must pay the additional cost out of their own pocket.

For a household earning an adjusted gross income between 100 percent and 133 percent of FPL, Obamacare caps their health insurance premiums at 2 percent of annual income. That cap incrementally increases as a household's income increases, peaking at 9.5 percent for households earning between 300 percent and 400 percent of FPL.

When a household gets the subsidy, the federal government pays their insurance company directly for any amount the household owes that exceeds their percentage-of-income cap.

No one getting a subsidy ever pays more than 9.5 percent of their income in premiums.

But if a household earns as little as one dollar over 400 percent of FPL, the household no longer qualifies for a subsidy, and there is no longer a cap on the percentage of income they can be forced to pay for health insurance.

Married couples seeking the subsidy are required to file joint tax returns and whether their premiums are capped or not is determined by the couple's combined income.

The law thus imposes a steep penalty on Americans who live in traditional families.

Take the hypothetical twin sisters Lucille and Linda, who live across the street from each other and who will buy health insurance on the same state exchange.


Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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