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News from EPI EPI’s Bivens and Gould to Discuss the Substantive Policy Case against the ACA Excise Tax

On Thursday, October 8, at noon Eastern, Economic Policy Institute Research Director Josh Bivens and Senior Economist Elise Gould will hold a media teleconference to discuss the substantive health policy drawbacks of the Affordable Care Act’s excise tax on high-cost health insurance, also known as the “Cadillac tax.”

Too much of the excise tax debate has covered opposition to the tax as purely driven by politics. Bivens and Gould have written extensively on why the claimed policy virtues of the excise tax are often exaggerated. The case for the excise tax boils down to arguing that increasing health care cost sharing by consumers is an efficient strategy for trying to contain health care costs. While making health care more expensive will likely cause people to consume less of it, the research indicates that consumers are ill-equipped to cut back only on unnecessary or ineffective care. Instead, consumers tend to cut back on health care across the board, meaning that much welfare-improving, medically-indicated care will be a casualty as a result of the excise tax.

Simply put, sick consumers should not bear the primary burden of figuring out how to achieve health care cost containment. Unfortunately, this is what the excise tax and other efforts to force more “skin in the game” ask of them. Focusing on reducing consumers’ utilization of health care rather than the price of the care they consume is too limited a cost-containment strategy.

For more of EPI’s work on health care cost sharing, visit

What: Press call on the ACA excise tax

Who: EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens

EPI Senior Economist Elise Gould

When: Thursday, October 8

Noon Eastern

Call in number: 800-311-9402

Passcode: 9796

To RSVP email