• Health care statutes are the most complex in the US

    I hear complaints from time to time about the complexity of health care law. Now we have some evidence.

    Katz and Bommarito (gated, free registration) at Michigan State analyzed the US Code for complexity using a variety of big data techniques. The most complex area of US statutory law? Our friend, Title 42, home to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Social Security Act. Title 42 beat (lost?) to tax law by a substantial margin (tax was #2, noted Paul Caron).

    But according to Katz (by email), the underlying data is from 2010, before PPACA was codified into Title 42. So health law is in no danger of losing the lead.


    • Health care law and tax law are similar in that creative minds seek avoidance by exploiting the complexity. That’s far more difficult with respect to health care law because the regulators have an ax: denial of program (Medicare) participation. There’s nothing comparable for tax law. In tax law, what’s clear is that clarity, achieved through complexity, is an invitation to avoidance, a recent example being the scheme by Apple to avoid US income tax on the income of its controlled foreign corporation (CFC) by squeezing through the pin hole of the very specific and complex CFC regulations. And it is a scheme. If the IRS had an ax, Apple would be in the same predicament as health care providers and couldn’t get away with it.

    • As a University of Michigan man, I am genetically predisposed to discount all research that originates from East Lansing 🙂