In the midst of the widening Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conservative targeting scandal, the Obama Administration and Democrats are scrambling to downplay the IRS’s role in implementing Obamacare.
That will be difficult to do, says the Washington Post.
“The IRS is, aside from Health and Human Services, arguably the most important agency in implementing the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare],” writes Washington Post reporter Sarah Kliff.
As Kliff explains:
There are 47 separate Obamacare provisions that require involvement from the agency. The IRS is tasked with implementing the law’s required purchase of health coverage, checking whether millions of Americans are in compliance.
The IRS has so much work to do on the Affordable Care Act that it’s come up with an incredibly detailed organization chart, published last year in a Government Accountability Office report.
Indeed, Obama’s own Treasury Department said earlier this year that the IRS will play a major role in implementing Obamacare.
“Revenue provisions contained in the legislation are designed to generate $438 billion to help pay for the overall cost of health care reform. More than 40 of these provisions added to or amended the Internal Revenue Code and represent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years,” said Obama’s Treasury Department in a report.
As CNNMoney reporter Jeanne Sahadi notes, the IRS will also: collect information from employers and insurers, determine who qualifies for subsidies or Medicaid, decide which individuals must pay penalties, and penalize employers that fail to provide their employees affordable coverage.
Republicans are trying to stop IRS involvement in implementing Obamacare. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013” (S. 983) in the Senate. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) sponsored a bill by the same name in the House (H.R. 1990).
“The official who oversaw the targeting of tea party groups is now in charge of implementing Obamacare at the IRS,” said Cornyn. “Now more than ever, we need to prevent the IRS from having any role in Americans’ health care.”
Whether the GOP will prove successful in removing the IRS from its major role as stipulated in the Obamacare bill remains to be seen.
Either way, 2,137 IRS agents are presently fast at work getting Obamacare ready for its January 2014 grand opening.