Lifting the Fog: Navigating the Penalties in the Affordable Care Act

52 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2013 Last revised: 17 Apr 2013

See all articles by Edward A. Morse

Edward A. Morse

Creighton University - School of Law

Date Written: October 30, 2012


This article provides an analysis and critique of tax penalties affecting employers and individuals in the Affordable Care Act. After an overview of the Act and its intended role in addressing problems in the health insurance system, the article turns to examine the employer and individual mandates, along with the requirement of minimum essential coverage. It argues that behavioral effects of these provisions are unlikely to achieve the desired policy outcomes. Moreover, the failure to accommodate conscience exemptions for employers and citizens with objections to contraceptive coverage likewise erects a barrier to achieving the desired policy goal of expanded coverage. Finally, the article briefly touches on the problems associated with state exchanges and their implications for employers and citizens seeking health insurance coverage. An appendix shows hypothetical computations affecting an employer decision to shift employees to exchanges rather than to continue employer-provided coverage.

Keywords: healthcare reform, Affordable Care Act, tax policy

JEL Classification: D61, H23, H42, I11, I18, l51, M52

Suggested Citation

Morse, Edward A., Lifting the Fog: Navigating the Penalties in the Affordable Care Act (October 30, 2012). 46 Creighton L. Rev. 207 (2013), Available at SSRN:

Edward A. Morse (Contact Author)

Creighton University - School of Law ( email )

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