It's common knowledge the U.S. tax code penalizes married couples with two working partners, whether they file jointly or separately. Less understood is there's a similar 'marriage penalty' also built into the Affordable Care Act.
"It's easy now to make yourself significantly worse off if the government thinks you're married than if they think you're not," says Kevin Hassett, director of economic policy studies at AEI.
Related: Obamacare's Unintended Losers
Speaking with The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task at The Hamilton Project's conference on "Supporting America's Lower-Middle-Class Families" in Washington earlier this week, Hassett explained: "If two people don't tell the government that they're co-habiting and married, they can each get free health care [if they qualify for Medicaid]. But if they announce that they're married to the government then they lose it and have to buy it on the exchange."
The marriage penalty under the Affordable Care Act affects couples of all income levels:
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