Thematic Areas

Tax Credits for Health Insurance

Fred Goldberg, Jr., Esq.
Susannah Camic, J.D., M.A.

Paper Summary

This Legal Solutions in Health Reform paper discusses the role that tax law can play in the implementation of health reform. The tax code has served as the primary vehicle for subsidizing health care in the U.S., with subsidies averaging $245 billion per year. Use of the tax code to support or implement health policy is extremely common in proposals at both the federal and state levels. Subsequently, the tax code will certainly play a role in any future health care reform efforts.

While there are no legal barriers to modifying the tax code, the interplay between tax law and health policy presents a series of critical design and implementation challenges with which any health care reform package must grapple. Thus, this paper does not examine whether the federal government has legal authority for using the tax law for health reform, but rather how it can use the tax law under various health reform proposals.

About the Authors

Fred T. Goldberg, Jr., J.D., is currently a partner in the Washington, DC office of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he is co-chair of the firm's tax practice. Mr. Goldberg previously served as Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service (1984-1986), Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (1989-1991) and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy (1992).

Goldberg's publications include Efficiency and Tax Incentives: The Case for Refundable Tax Credits, 59 Stan. L. Rev. 23 (2006) (with Lily L. Batchelder and Peter R. Orszag); The Universal Piggy Bank: Designing and Implementing A System of Savings Accounts for Children, Inclusion in the American Dream: Assets, Poverty and Public Policy (Sherraden, M., ed., Oxford Press 2005) (with Jodi Cohen); From FDR to W: The IRS as Financial Intermediary, 29 Ohio N.U. L. Rev. 1 (2002-2003);Reforming Social Security: How to Implement A Practical and Workable System of Personal Retirement Accounts, Administrative Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform (Shoven, J., ed., NBER 2000) (with Michael J. Graetz).

In addition, Goldberg serves as a Trustee for the following nonprofit organizations: the Children's Research Institute at the Children's National Medical Center (DC Children's Hospital); The Corporation for Enterprise Development; D.C Appleseed; and Doorways to Dreams. He also serves on the IRS Commissioner's Advisory Group for Exempt Organizations. He received a BA from Yale University and a JD from Yale Law School.

Susannah Camic, J.D., M.A., is an associate in the tax group in the Washington, DC office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. She received her B.A. in economics from Yale University, from which she also received an M.A. in political science. In 2007, she graduated from Yale Law School, where she worked as a research assistant to Professor Michael Graetz.