Obamacare law says that health insurance at work is “affordable” if the employee has to pay no more than 9.5% of his wages for self-only coverage. If it is affordable, neither the worker nor his family is entitled to subsidized insurance in the (Obamacare) exchanges.
The Biden administration wants to change that rule administratively (without Congress) to deem health insurance “unaffordable” if the premium for the entire family is greater than 9.5% of wages.
A letter to the IRS signed by three dozen health policy experts (including yours truly) says the change is not only illegal, it would harm workers:
Although the statute does not require employers to contribute to dependent coverage, most do. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, companies that offered health benefits in 2021 paid on average 83 percent of the premium for self-only coverage and 72 percent of the premium for family coverage. Making dependents eligible for government-subsidized coverage in the exchange would incentivize employers to reduce or eliminate their contributions…. That, ironically, would increase the cost of job-based dependent coverage, a demonstrable harm to millions of workers and their families.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the “fix” to the “family glitch” … would increase the federal deficit by $45 billion over ten years. Very little of this new spending would expand coverage…. The Urban Institute study cited above estimates that, of the 4.8 million who would be made eligible for PTCs, only 190,000 would have been previously uninsured.