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IRS role in Obamacare called into question after scandal

Whether your political leanings are to the left or right most of us can agree the recent news that the IRS has been caught abusing their power should make us question if this is the best time to dramatically expand the power and size of the IRS. Unfortunately, this is exactly what Obamacare will require.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the IRS

It is estimated that thousands of new IRS agents will be needed to implement the dozens of provisions of Obamacare. What this means is the arguably largest social policy change of this generation will be monitored by an agency with a credibility problem.

But what does the IRS have to do with Obamacare? Everything. When Obamacare takes full effect in 2014, the IRS will be involved in monitoring the mandated purchase of health insurance. What if you choose not to participate? The IRS will have the authority to penalize not only individuals but also businesses who choose not to follow the new law.

IRS administers state exchanges

Not only will they have the job of enforcement, they will also administer the distribution of money through state exchanges to help low-income people afford insurance. This will be done with subsidies, which are the most expensive piece of the new Obamacare legislation.

The IRS has already received an estimated $500 from the Department of Health and Human Services to cover implementation, but this sum is not going to be nearly enough. Another $1 billion has been requested by the president for implementation and extra money will be needed to hire hundreds of IRS employees.

How will the scandal affect implementation by the Internal Revenue Service?

With the news of the recent scandal, lawmakers have a strong argument to deny funding to the troubled agency. Why would anyone, Republican or Democrat, want to expand the authority of an agency which has shown impartiality in audits and awarding tax-exempt status to organizations?

This may seem like a Republican issue, but it is far from it. Although this time the public’s trust was violated by targeting conservative groups, who is to say that in the future if this type of illegal activities go unpunished that liberal groups might not see themselves targeted by an overly aggressive conservative administration?

The IRS scandal should frighten everyone and make us question how the IRS will handle taxpayer information and wield its power when it enforces Obamacare starting next year. The IRS will verify that all Americans have ‘qualifying' health coverage’ and they will decide who is eligible for Obamacare's subsidies. These administrative tasks will allow the IRS to track the smallest financial changes for American families.

What’s even more disturbing is that Sara Hall Ingram is now in charge of the IRS's Affordable Care office. What’s her story? She ran the IRS division where employees singled out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
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