Using Taxes to Reform Health Insurance: Pitfalls and Promises

Using Taxes to Reform Health Insurance: Pitfalls and Promises

by Henry Aaron
     
 

Few people realize that one of the nation's largest health programs runs through the tax system. Reformers of all stripes propose to modify current tax rules as part of larger programs to increase coverage and control costs. Is the current system working? Will tax-based reforms achieve their goals? Several of the nation's foremost experts on taxation and health

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Overview

Few people realize that one of the nation's largest health programs runs through the tax system. Reformers of all stripes propose to modify current tax rules as part of larger programs to increase coverage and control costs. Is the current system working? Will tax-based reforms achieve their goals? Several of the nation's foremost experts on taxation and health policy address these questions in Using Taxes to Reform Health Insurance, a joint product of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the American Tax Policy Institute. Led by respected economists Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution and Leonard Burman of the Urban Institute, contributors examine the role taxes currently play, the likely effects of recently introduced health savings accounts, the challenges of administering major subsidies for health insurance through the tax system, and options for using the tax system to expand health insurance coverage. No taxpayer or consumer of health care services can afford to ignore these issues.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780815701255
Publisher:
Brookings Institution Press and Urban Institute
Publication date:
12/01/2008
Pages:
300
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction Henry J. Aaron Aaron, Henry J. Leonard E. Burman Burman, Leonard E. 1

2 Tax policy and the history of the health insurance industry Robert B. Helms Helms, Robert B. 13

3 The tax code, employer-sponsored insurance, and the distribution of tax subsidies Leonard E. Burman Burman, Leonard E. Bowen Garrett Garrett, Bowen Surachai Khitatrakun Khitatrakun, Surachai 36

4 Health savings accounts : recent trends and potential effects on coverage and health insurance markets Lisa Clemans-Cope Clemans-Cope, Lisa 67

5 What's in a name? : are health savings accounts really health savings accounts? Henry J. Aaron Aaron, Henry J. Patrick Healy Healy, Patrick Surachai Khitatrakun Khitatrakun, Surachai 92

6 Tax subsidies for out-of-pocket health care costs Jessica Vistnes Vistnes, Jessica William Jack Jack, William Arik Levinson Levinson, Arik 119

7 Administrative issues : challenges of the current system Mary B. H. Hevener Hevener, Mary B. H. Charles K. "Chip" Kerby III Kerby, Charles K. "Chip", III 147

8 The challenges of implementing health reform through the tax system Janet Holtzblatt Holtzblatt, Janet 171

9 Reforming the tax treatment of health care : right ways and wrong ways Jason Furman Furman, Jason 211

10 Simple humans, complex insurance, subtle subsidies Jeffrey Liebman Liebman, Jeffrey Richard Zeckhauser Zeckhauser, Richard 230

11 Taxes and health insurance Peter Orszag Orszag, Peter 263

Contributors 271

Index 273

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