Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Yet Another Reason To Pay Off The Mortgage

Legal Insurrection points to a November 4, 2013 New York Times article about how a couple of PhDs who live in Albuquerque and paint for a living are going to get essentially free health insurance:
For Mark and Elisabeth Horst, both artists in Albuquerque, the risks of signing up for a bronze plan were outweighed by the prospect of getting it free. The Horsts, who make $24,000 a year between them, qualified for $612 in monthly subsidies, but the cost of a bronze plan was $581 a month.
Mark Horst's PhD is from Yale; Elizabeth Horst closed down her psychology practice to live the good life.  As Legal Insurrection points out:
More power to the Horsts. But don’t ask me to subsidize their lifestyle choice.  
Paying off the mortgage?  I would then have no mortgage payment and less taxable interest income.  A lower total income means a bigger subsidy on health insurance.  Those who still have to work will be overjoyed at the chance to subsidize early retirees, right?  Of course, that assumes that the Obamacare madness survives until I retire in a year or two.

UPDATE: I thought that there might be a way to really mess with the Unaffordable Care Act for millionaires.  Just invest your assets in municipal bonds.  The interest on most such bonds is exempt from federal income tax, and if the bonds are from your state of residence, exempt from state income tax as well.  Your Adjusted Gross Income does not include tax-exempt interest.  My thought was that a millionaire could, by having all income tax-exempt, get pretty much the entire health insurance paid for by working stiffs.  But it turns out that the calculation of subsidy is based not only AGI but Modified AGI, which includes tax-free interest.  (The people that wrote this bill were not quite as stupid as I assumed.)


  1. You can be sure they're both committed leftists and rant against the 1% every chance they get, when they're not spending your money and mine.

  2. Never confuse evil with stupid.

    Though the two are not necessarily exclusive.

    I can explain the problem with the municipal bond strategy in a single word: Detroit.

  3. Don't put more than 5% of your portfolio in a single bond, or more than 20% in a single state. Buy insured municipal bonds; if the bond insurers start to default, the only thing that matters is lead and canned food. And never buy bonds from a locality that is returning to barbarism.