Research & Commentary: Obamacare Costs Taxpayers $4 Trillion

Published April 26, 2012

A new report from the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, using Congressional Budget Office data, reveals the federal health care law will impose $4 trillion in tax increases by 2035.

Advocates of the law say the taxes will be paid by insurance companies through taxes on “Cadillac” health insurance plans, by “high-income” individuals, and by members of the health care industry, such as medical device companies and drug manufacturers.

The JEC report, however, notes the CBO found most of the revenue generated by the “Cadillac” tax will “not be paid by platinum health insurance plans, but rather by employees who are forced to exchange tax-free health insurance benefits for taxable wages after employers reduce or eliminate health insurance” as a result of the law. Also, the “high-income” taxes are not indexed for inflation, meaning in ten years individuals with lower real incomes will be considered “high-income” for tax purposes. Thus, the report states, “low- and middle-income families who receive subsidies under Obamacare will simultaneously be ‘high-income’ earners taxed to support those subsidies.”

In addition, the taxes on members of the health care industry will increase the prices patients pay for medical goods and services.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) noted, “For all the hidden taxes, for all the exploding spending projections, for all the untold dollars and freedoms that will be lost under government-run health care, for all the unknown unknowns, the American people actually seem to know exactly what ObamaCare will always cost them: more.”

The following documents offer additional information on the fiscal consequences of the federal health care law.

Obamacare’s Tangled Web of Taxes
Maureen Martin, senior fellow for The Heartland Institute, explains the variety of different taxes the federal health care law will place upon American citizens.

CMS Actuaries: Obamacare Increases Costs
Reporting in The Heartlander digital magazine, Loren Heal explains that despite the name of the federal health care law, it will be far from affordable. He states, “Contrary to claims made by the Obama administration during the fight to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), government actuaries are now predicting President Obama’s law will result in increased costs, instead of lowering them.”

The Obamacare Disaster
In a Heartland Policy Study, Senior Fellow Peter Ferrara dives into the details of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and provides an entire chapter on the high costs that will result from its implementation.

Nine Danger Signs in Obamacare
Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute describes why the federal health care law will damage the nation’s health care industry. She writes, “Not a single one of its major programs has gotten started, and already the wheels are starting to come off of Obamacare. The administration’s own chief actuary has reported millions of people could lose their health insurance, health care costs will rise faster than they would have if the law hadn’t passed, and the overhaul will mean people will have an increasingly tough time finding physicians to see them.”

Obamacare Raises Costs for Feds, States, Individuals
Writing in The Heartlander digital magazine, Loren Heal reports that the federal health care law will increase costs for patients and states and will increase the federal deficit. Heal writes, “Proponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) argued the legislation would reduce costs, but analysis from policy experts and the chief Medicare actuary now reveals not only will federal costs rise, but the costs to states, insurers, employers, and most individuals—virtually all parties in the system—will also increase.”

Nothing in this Research & Commentary is intended to influence the passage of legislation, and it does not necessarily represent the views of The Heartland Institute. For further information, on this subject, visit Health Care News at, The Heartland Institute’s website at, and PolicyBot, Heartland’s free online research database at

 If you have any questions about this issue or the Heartland website, contact Heartland Institute Legislative Specialist Kendall Antekeier at [email protected] or 312/377-4000.