While abortion and public plan aspects of health reform have been debated, a far more vexing issue for defenders of the traditional family should be the very substantial marriage penalties buried in the 2,457 page bill moving through Congress.
Indeed, the low and middle income subsidies in the “health insurance exchanges” are stacked against marriage – with penalties of up to 100 percent if a cohabiting couple decides to marry.
Individuals, who do not now have insurance, who have incomes up to $43,500, will be able to buy it at a very low cost due to federal subsidies.
For example, an individual earning $25,000 would pay only $1,538 in insurance premiums. But what if that person is cohabiting with a partner with the same income, and they decide to marry? Their premium is not $3,072, double the cost of one person, but $5,160.
That’s a marriage penalty of $2,084.
In theory, universal health care should take civil marriage out of the picture by ending the need for “partnering” to secure benefits. That’s one of the reasons why the LGBT community has pushed for same sex civil marriage.
But, because of the nature of the low income subsidies, you actually end up with a marriage penalty. This is a repeat of many other aspects of our welfare laws that penalise civil marriage for low-income people.
Instead of wasting theirs and everyone else’s time trying to make the state do what it’s “supposed to do” with civil marriage, defenders of “traditional” marriage would do well to work for a divorce–of marriage and the state. Marriage needs to be strictly “under God” and the sooner the Christian community figures this out the better.