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WHAT IRS SCANDAL MEANS FOR HEALTH-CARE REFORM

17 May 2013

WHAT IRS SCANDAL MEANS FOR HEALTH-CARE REFORM

The Fix reports, “The revelation that the IRS targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny has given fuel to Republican complaints of government overreach. It’s also given them more ammunition in their fight against the implementation of President Obama’s health care law. Half of the billion dollars allocated to cover implementation of the Affordable Care Act went to the IRS. Starting in 2014, the agency will distribute subsidies for health-care coverage through state exchanges and issue penalties against individuals who do not get or businesses that do not provide insurance. … A Republican senator, Nevada’s Dean Heller, has already announced legislation to suspend any funding for the IRS for new agents needed to deal with health-care reform until Congress is given more oversight over the implementation.” NOT AN EXCUSE BUT… The Fix continues … “Henry Aaron, an economist and health-care policy expert at the Brookings Institution, said it’s actually a lack of resources that creates these kinds of problems. The classification based on the terms “patriots” and “tea party” was an attempt to deal with a huge uptick in the number of groups applying for tax-exempt status. “I think nobody has drawn what I think is the proper inference from this, which is that the IRS is severely underfunded in its enforcement division,” Aaron said. Republicans successfully pushed IRS budget cuts in 2011, and Acting Commissioner Steven Miller has said that the sequester could further reduce the agency enforcement ability. The GOP didn’t need this scandal to deny the IRS funding — but it certainly won’t hurt.”

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