This note focuses on the role of the personal income tax in reducing the effective price of health care benefits. Tax-bracket creep is shown to provide a cushion that absorbs relatively large increases in health benefit costs, thus reducing the impetus for employer initiatives to control health care costs. It is hypothesized that the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, with its provision for the indexing of tax brackets, will increase employer concern, and may therefore spur the development of effective employer initiatives to reduce the costs of health benefits.

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