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Taxes and Health Insurance

  • Jonathan Gruber

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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8657.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8657.

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Date of creation: Dec 2001
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Publication status: published as Gruber, Jonathan and Ebonya Washington. "Subsidies To Employee Health Insurance Premiums And The Health Insurance Market," Journal of Health Economics, 2005, v24(2,Mar), 253-276.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8657
Note: HC PE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. Gruber, Jonathan & McKnight, Robin, 2003. "Why did employee health insurance contributions rise?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 1085-1104, November.
  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. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Holmer, Martin, 1984. "Tax policy and the demand for health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 203-221, December.
  6. Woodbury, Stephen A & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1992. "Taxes, Fringe Benefits and Faculty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 287-96, May.
  7. 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.
  8. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Tax Subsidies for Health Insurance: Evaluating the Costs and Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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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