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Author: Holahan, John

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The ACA's "Cadillac" Tax Versus a Cap on the Tax Exclusion of Employer-Based Health Benefits: Is This a Battle Worth Fighting? (Research Brief)
Linda J. BlumbergJohn HolahanGordon Mermin

Opposition to the ACA’s “Cadillac” tax is growing. This excise tax applies to employer health benefits exceeding a threshold. There has been broader support over time for a cap on the tax exclusion of employer contributions to health insurance, including from many who now want to repeal the Cadillac tax. We show that the distributional effects of the excise tax and a cap on the exclusion are similar, except when firms choose to pay the excise tax instead of reducing benefits to avoid it (very few employers are expected to leave benefits at prior levels and pay the tax).

Published: 10/22/15
Availability:   PDF

The Paul Ryan Budget Proposal (Video / Commentary)
Rudolph G. PennerDonald MarronJohn Holahan

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on April 5, 2011 released a far reaching budget proposal to cut $6 trillion within 10 years. The plan would reform the tax code, cut tax rates, subject Medicare to a stringent budget, and turn Medicaid into state block grants. In this video, Urban Institute policy experts Rudy G. Penner, Donald Marron, and John Holahan size up the proposal and the budget crisis.

Published: 04/14/11
Availability: HTML

The Case for Evidence-Based Policy: Beyond Ideology, Politics, and Guesswork: (revised 2008) (Research Report)
Terry DunworthJane HannawayJohn HolahanMargery Austin Turner

U.S. public policy has increasingly been conceived, debated, and evaluated through the lenses of politics and ideology. The fundamental question--Will the policy work?--too often gets short shrift or even ignored. A remedy is evidence-based policy -- a rigorous approach that draws on careful data collection, experimentation, and both quantitative and qualitative analysis to determine what the problem is, which ways it can be addressed, and the probable impacts of each of these ways. Examples of how evidence informs good policy and lack of evidence can invite bad include health insurance coverage, welfare reform, sentencing policy, and redress for housing discrimination.

Published: 08/11/08
Availability: HTML | PDF

The President's Health Care Proposal Misses the Point  (Opinion)
Linda J. BlumbergJohn Holahan

President Bush's new health care proposal ignores the most important problems in the current health care system: a lack of guaranteed affordable, accessible, and adequate insurance coverage for those with modest incomes or with high health needs. The proposal's focus on limiting the tax exemption for employer contributions and creating tax equity between the purchase of group and non-group insurance does virtually nothing to redress this situation. In fact, the proposed tax change would continue to reward those with high incomes more than low-income individuals, and the tax equity across markets could endanger coverage for the most vulnerable in most states.

Published: 02/01/07
Availability: HTML

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