HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Friday, July 20, 2012

Predicting ACA's Consequences

Two weeks ago I blogged about criticisms that were being raised about the financial consequences of the Affordable Care Act.   I referenced in particular an article by John Klatch of the organization, Americans for Tax Reform.  In response to that posting I heard from Professor Fran Miller, one of the smartest people I know, who is currently a visiting Professor of Law University of Hawaii at Manoa, & Professor of Law Emerita Boston University School of Law.  Professor Miller referred me to an article in Forbes which showed ACA as having far less an effect on capital gains taxes than Klatch suggested.  This got me curious both about the specific claims made about ACA’s effect on the capital gains tax and, more generally, the continued back and forth about what bad things lay ahead now that ACA was the law of the land.

First, whether or not ACA can in any sense be described as increasing the Capital Gains tax rates depends on your definition of cause and effect.   Whether ACA was upheld or not, the current Capital Gains tax rates, which temporarily lowered rates, are set to expire in 2013.  If Congress takes no further action, rates will go up.

But second, it seems that ACA has become something of a blank slate onto which Americans are still imposing their own hopes, fears and concerns.  Rather than fade away, interest has intensified with the new topic being debate over what is likely to happen as the Act is implemented.   Picking up on nature of speculation, the public editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, felt compelled to write a this article “debunking” myths about ACA, discussed here by the National Catholic Reporter, which itself was debunked in the fast response by Foreign Policy Journal.

A related stream of commentary comes from those asserting that there will still be flaws in our health care system even when ACA is fully implemented.  See here.

What to make of this?   The public seems to be caught in the middle with Fox News reporting divisions along party lines among Democrats who want to move on and focus on the future of health care in the United States and Republicans who are still committed to at least partial repeal.   The Fox results are similar to those found by the Kaiser Family Foundation shortly after the decision.


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