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Taxes and Health Insurance

In: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 16

Author

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  • Jonathan Gruber

Abstract

A common prescription for reducing the number of uninsured is to increase the tax subsidization of health insurance in the U.S. Yet, we already provide over $100 billion per year in tax subsidies to health insurance. This paper provides an assessment of the past and potential impacts of taxation on health insurance coverage and costs. I begin by reviewing the central facts on health insurance and taxation. I then provide a framework for assessing the impacts of tax policies on health insurance coverage and costs, and I review the existing empirical evidence on the key behavioral parameters required to model these impacts. I conclude with the policy implications of these findings for tax policies to expand insurance coverage.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Gruber, 2002. "Taxes and Health Insurance," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 16, pages 37-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10862
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Holmer, Martin, 1984. "Tax policy and the demand for health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 203-221, December.
    2. Jonathan Gruber & James M. Poterba, 1996. "Tax Subsidies to Employer-Provided Health Insurance," NBER Chapters,in: Empirical Foundations of Household Taxation, pages 135-168 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Farber, Henry S. & Levy, Helen, 2000. "Recent trends in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage: are bad jobs getting worse?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 93-119, January.
    4. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Tax Subsidies for Health Insurance: Evaluating the Costs and Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Woodbury, Stephen A & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1992. "Taxes, Fringe Benefits and Faculty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 287-296, May.
    6. Marquis, M Susan & Phelps, Charles E, 1987. "Price Elasticity and Adverse Selection in the Demand for Supplementary Health Insurance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(2), pages 299-313, April.
    7. Long, James E & Scott, Frank A, 1982. "The Income Tax and Nonwage Compensation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(2), pages 211-219, May.
    8. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Does Public Insurance Crowd out Private Insurance?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 391-430.
    9. Marquis, M. Susan & Long, Stephen H., 1995. "Worker demand for health insurance in the non-group market," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 47-63, May.
    10. Roger Feldman & Bryan Dowd & Scott Leitz & Lynn A. Blewett, 1997. "The Effect of Premiums on the Small Firm's Decision to Offer Health Insurance," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 635-658.
    11. Pauly, Mark V, 1986. "Taxation, Health Insurance, and Market Failure in the Medical Economy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 629-675, June.
    12. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
    13. Gruber, Jonathan & McKnight, Robin, 2003. "Why did employee health insurance contributions rise?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 1085-1104, November.
    14. Royalty, Anne Beeson, 2000. "Tax preferences for fringe benefits and workers' eligibility for employer health insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 209-227, February.
    15. Jonathan Gruber & Michael Lettau, 2000. "How Elastic is the Firm's Demand for Health Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 8021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. William M. Gentry & Eric Peress, 1994. "Taxes and Fringe Benefits Offered by Employers," NBER Working Papers 4764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. David M. Cutler, 2003. "Employee Costs and the Decline in Health Insurance Coverage," NBER Chapters,in: Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 6, pages 27-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jonathan Gruber, 2008. "Covering the Uninsured in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 13758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jonathan Gruber, 2005. "Tax Policy for Health Insurance," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 19, pages 39-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jung, Juergen & Hall, Diane M. Harnek & Rhoads, Thomas, 2013. "Does the availability of parental health insurance affect the college enrollment decision of young Americans?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 49-65.
    5. Dey, Matthew & Flinn, Christopher, 2008. "Household search and health insurance coverage," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 43-63, July.
    6. Herzlinger, Regina E., 2010. "Healthcare reform and its implications for the U.S. economy," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 105-117, March.
    7. Liran Einav & Amy Finkelstein & Mark R. Cullen, 2008. "Estimating Welfare in Insurance Markets Using Variation in Prices," NBER Working Papers 14414, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Hamersma, Sarah & Kim, Matthew, 2009. "The effect of parental Medicaid expansions on job mobility," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 761-770, July.
    9. Avi Dor & Joseph Sudano & David W. Baker, 2003. "The Effects of Private Insurance on Measures of Health: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 9774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Spierdijk, Laura & van Lomwel, Gijsbert & Peppelman, Wilko, 2009. "The determinants of sick leave durations of Dutch self-employed," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1185-1196, December.
    11. Sang-Hyop Lee & Gerard Russo & Lawrence H. Nitz & Abdul Jabbar, 2005. "The Effect of Mandatory Employer-Sponsored Insurance (ESI) on Health Insurance Coverage and Labor Force Utilization in Hawaii: Evidence from the Current Population Survey (CPS) 1994-2004," Working Papers 200512, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    12. Jayanta Bhattacharya & William B. Vogt, 2006. "Employment and Adverse Selection in Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 12430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Katerina Sherstyuk & Yoav Wachsman & Gerard Russo, 2007. "Labor Market Effects Of Employer-Provided Health Insurance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 538-556, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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