In the News

David Gamage in the news:

Six words might decide the fate of Obamacare at the Supreme Court

David Gamage quoted in The Washington Post, March 1, 2015

“Nobody I talked to in government, including many people involved in the legislative process, thought this was a question,” recalled David Gamage, a tax law professor at the University of California at Berkeley hired to help the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy implement the law. “Nobody thought the argument [limiting the subsidies] was persuasive.’’

Bay Area district wants to use tax dollars for private clubhouse

David Gamage interviewed by NBC Bay Area, July 25, 2014

“They aren’t supposed to be autonomous, but they are supposed to be accountable to their voters…. These districts don’t answer to the governor or to anybody else in the state directly. They’re only regulated indirectly the same way that any private organization or a nonprofit organization or other public organization is answerable to the state in terms of the state’s regulatory powers.”

IRS considers taxing work perks like food, gym membership

David Gamage interviewed on Fox News, April 16, 2014

David Gamage … said it would really boil down to who benefits from these perks. “To what extent is this intended as a perk, a form of compensation, for the benefit of the employee, or to what extent is this just another way the employer gets the employee to work harder and longer and do things for the benefit of the employer?”

A better direction for California’s climate change policy

Mark Gergen and David Gamage write for The Sacramento Bee, March 22, 2014

The proposed carbon tax is a much better mechanism for making those who burn fossil fuels pay for the privilege of doing so. The carbon tax is more transparent, specifying the sums that must be paid for the privilege of emitting greenhouse gases. And unlike cap and trade’s auction proceeds, revenue from a carbon tax can be returned to Californians through direct tax relief.

The Affordable Care Act’s multiple taxes

David Gamage cited in The New York Times, February 26, 2014
As far as I know, before this month the only place that one could read about the Affordable Care Act’s new employment tax was in this paper by David Gamage.

Obamacare enrollment: Will we make it?

David Gamage interviewed on NBC, February 14, 2014
“We can’t rule out, based on the numbers we see now, that almost everyone on the exchange pool is somebody who had some form of insurance before,” noted David Gamage…who helped implement the Affordable Care Act while working at the U.S. Treasury Department. “Now, that may or may not be the case…. We just don’t know yet. We’ll have much better information in a few months.”

Four ways Obamacare can affect a divorce

David Gamage cited on, January 16, 2014
When it comes to health insurance, divorcing couples run into a problem if both parties were on one employer-sponsored insurance plan, says David Gamage.

How to avoid another shutdown

David Gamage and David Louk write for Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2013

It is difficult to explain the recent government shutdown to citizens of other nations. In most of the world’s democracies, this kind of disruption can’t happen. Rules are in place to keep the government running even if a new budget isn’t passed on time. The U.S. needs to reform its budgetary processes to prevent the kind of crisis we saw recently.

Reality check: why US can’t just prioritize its debts

David Gamage quoted in NBC Bay Area, October 17, 2013

“Right now, Treasury’s computer systems are designed to pay bills in the order they come in,” Gamage said. “There is no programming in order to prioritize payments. That’s largely because it’s illegal to prioritize payments.” To take it a step further, even if Treasury tried to manipulate its computer systems, Gamage said there could still be disastrous consequences.

Putting Congress on cruise control

David Gamage quoted in The Wall Street Journal Law Blog, October 14, 2013 (registration required)

“Instead of having budgetary negotiation failures trigger government shutdowns, we propose that automatic continuing appropriations should maintain government spending in the interim until a new budget is passed,” write UC Berkeley law professor David Gamage and Yale Law School student David Louk.

Reality check: Can US pay debts during shutdown?

David Gamage interviewed by NBC Bay Area, October 7, 2013

“Treasury systems are designed to pay bills in the order they come in. There is no programming in place to prioritize payments; that’s largely because it’s illegal to prioritize payments…. It’s entirely possible—even if all interest payments are paid—that just the uncertainty and chaos surrounding the illegality could create a financial crisis worse than the one we’re currently recovering from.”

Disruptive technology: The Tax Injunction Act

David Gamage cited in TaxProfBlog, September 26, 2013

Well, the duo of Gamage and Shanske might be the Nate Silver(s) of tax controversy, as the Tenth Circuit held in the Brohl case that the reporting requirements constitute a tax for TIA purposes, and, therefore, the district court should not have reached the question of the constitutionality of the reporting requirements under the Commerce Clause.

Defunding health care law won’t stop it entirely

David Gamage quoted on CNN Money, August 15, 2013

“Laws on the books are legally binding,” said David Gamage. But he noted that “compliance would almost certainly go down. How much is a big question.”

IRS issues guidance on employer mandate delay

David Gamage quoted in Tax Analysts, July 15, 2013 (registration required)

“The problems that the employer mandate is designed to address, stemming from employers that drop unhealthy or low-income workers, should generally take more than a year to manifest,” said Gamage.

Ask the experts: what to make of the IRS “Tea Party” scandal

David Gamage quoted in Card Hub, June 3, 2013

“To begin with, I think the term scandal is somewhat overstated. … Congress, through the tax code, has charged the IRS with regulating the political activity of non-profit organizations, yet the IRS lacks the tools to do so effectively. The underlying law is a complete mess.”

Senate immigration proposal has complex interaction with healthcare provisions

David Gamage quoted in TaxAnalysts, April 19, 2013 (registration required)

“Making them ineligible for credits makes the affordability exemption much higher,” said David Gamage of the University of California, Berkeley. The Department of Health and Human Services could provide a hardship exemption from the mandate for RPIs, he added.

New health care law tax surprise

David Gamage quoted in NBC Bay Area, April 19, 2013

“Essentially the idea is if you don’t buy health insurance you’re increasing costs for the whole health care system,” said Gamage…. “On your tax forms you will have to certify that you have insurance that qualifies from some source,” said Gamage. “And if you don’t you will be assessed a penalty, the individual mandate penalty.”

Obamacare and lower-income workers

David Gamage cited in Tax Jotwell, February 22, 2013

Gamage supports the ACA, but argues that it presents lower-income workers and their employers with a catch-22.  If employers provide health insurance, workers will overpay for it.  But if employers do not provide health insurance, workers cannot access traditional full-time-with-benefits jobs.

Bay Area risky for identity theft, tax fraud

David Gamage quoted in San Jose Mercury News, February 9, 2013

Gamage said that while people need to be careful—don’t get credit card statements in the mail and change your passwords for online banking—there’s no reason for panic. Credit cards and banks are quick to reverse fraudulent charges, and the IRS has systems in place to help victims of identity theft. “Sure, it ends up being a hassle,” he said. “Beyond that, this is just a risk of the technology age.”

ObamaCare’s costs to the working class

David Gamage writes for The Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2012

It is time to move past the debate over whether ObamaCare was a good or a bad idea. I count myself as an ObamaCare supporter, but this doesn’t blind me to the law’s flaws. Regardless of who wins the presidential election, bipartisan compromise will be necessary to reform health care in a constructive way.