'Big brother' process
IRS scandal increases concerns over Obamacare management, says Senator
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As the IRS scandal metastasizes, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., appearing on Your World with Neil Cavuto on the Fox News Channel on Wednesday afternoon told the show’s audience that he and other Republicans have serious reservations about the Internal Revenue Service managing Obamacare.
Sen. Coburn told Cavuto that hearings in both houses of the U.S. Congress must probe the reliability of the IRS to manage a program that’s one-sixth of the U.S. economy and that will make decisions on something as important as citizens’ health care.
“President Obama and his minions may believe the Benghazi hearings are a ‘sideshow,’ but the real sideshow in the IRS scandal is the prospect of having thousands of agents controlling America’s health care system. How can they be trusted? Should they be trusted?” asked attorney and political consultant Mike Baker.
According to the director of the IRS’ department overseeing tax-exempt organizations, Lois Lerner, employees at an IRS office in Ohio began a probe of organizations using the terms “patriot” or “Tea Party.” IRS agents conducted politically-motivated reviews during the 2012 elections, including the presidential race, to see if conservative groups applying for 501(c) 3 status were in violation of tax-exempt regulations.
As time passed, the IRS activities became a scandal on the level of Benghazi and Fast and Furious, two episodes that continue to cast a shadow over the Obama White House.
President Barack Obama’s health care law, although thousands of pages, was hastily created and frantically pushed through the House and Senate by Democratic majorities before many even had a chance to read its contents, according to Baker.
“That law is now being implemented—and has raised serious concerns about big government intrusion into American’s private lives,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The Committee examined how the IRS is implementing the Affordable Health Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare, and the consequences for Americans. The Oversight Committee addressed concerns about the “big brother process” it will create, the legality of rules it will enforce and the sacrosanct privacy of personal information once held only by the IRS but now share with state exchanges.
The lawmakers also reviewed the biggest spending item within Obamacare—its complicated subsidy scheme and the assessment of the challenges the IRS faces with implementation.
“Under Obamacare, taxpayers will have to provide within 30 days, notification to a government agency about key information in their lives: did they get a raise or take another job; did a family member move into the household; were they married or divorced; what is the nature of their employer-paid health care coverage. The IRS is ill equipped to deliver customer satisfaction in addressing disputes or questions with the public, according to key metrics and government surveys. The IRS is also ill equipped to handle the massive staffing and technology ramp-ups required to handle this data,” Chairman Issa told his committee.
According to Issa, under Obamacare, taxpayers will have to provide within 30 days, notification to a government agency about key information in their lives: did they get a raise or take another job; did a family member move into the household; were they married or divorced; what is the nature of their employer-paid health care coverage.
“The IRS is ill equipped to deliver customer satisfaction in addressing disputes or questions with the public, according to key metrics and government surveys. The IRS is also ill equipped to handle the massive staffing and technology ramp-ups required to handle this data,” said Issa.
The IRS executives are witnessing the largest manpower expansion—at least since withholding taxes were first introduced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II—to enforce the new tax mandates and penalties included in the health care law, according to Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas.
According to an analysis by the Joint Economic Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee staff, up to 6,500 new IRS personnel will be necessary to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
“When most people think of health care reform they think of more doctor’s exams, not more IRS exams,” said Congressman Brady, a top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee. “Isn’t the federal government already intruding enough into our lives? We need thousands of new doctors and nurses in America, not thousands of more IRS agents.”