Mark Caserta: Pull plug on IRS' role in Obamacare
Open enrollment in our nation's Health Insurance Marketplace begins Oct. 1, 2013. Yet many Americans still don't realize the Internal Revenue Service will be the government's enforcement arm for the Affordable Care Act.
The IRS has indeed been empowered to enforce Obamacare's mandates, taxes, penalties, reporting and other administrative requirements relative to the president's health care program.
And it certainly makes sense to charge the most controversial tentacle of government with oversight of what many have called the "largest tax increase in our nation's history."
Even U.S. Treasury officials acknowledge that huge problems lie ahead.
"It is unprecedented in recent history, the amount of responsibility the IRS is being given in an area that most people don't think of as an IRS function," Treasury inspector general J. Russell George told the House Appropriations Committee in March. "Americans will have more questions about their taxes because of health care penalties or credits, flooding already busy call-in and walk-in help centers. This is going to lead to problems, sir," he testified.
But, it gets even better.
While IRS officials and Americans sort through the massive amounts of red tape and undiscovered consequences of the Affordable Care Act, who do you suppose will be at the helm collecting the revenues for the federal government?
Incredibly, the very same official who was in charge of the tax-exempt organizations during the period of time the IRS reportedly targeted tea party groups will now oversee the IRS office responsible for Obamacare.
Sarah Hall Ingram, who served as commissioner of the office responsible for vetting tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012, is now the director of the IRS' Affordable Care Act office, according to multiple sources.
Was this her reward for a job well-done?
Understand, these politically motivated policies took place in the years leading up to the 2012 election. Inordinately denying tax exemption status to groups considered antagonistic to Obama's liberal agenda is, well, tyrannical in its scope and may have influenced the outcome of the presidential election.
The recent series of events have Republicans outraged.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has even introduced a bill, the "Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013," which is aimed at prohibiting the IRS from enforcing the Affordable Care Act.
"Now more than ever, we need to prevent the IRS from having any role in Americans' health care," Cornyn stated. "I do not support Obamacare, and after the events of last week, I cannot support giving the IRS any more responsibility or taxpayer dollars to implement a broken law."
Americans must carefully weigh the recent revelations of our government's actions.
We're now certain the government has been secretly accumulating personal information on a wide spectrum of Americans via internet technology.
We also know a powerful arm of the government has already been used to unfairly target segments of the population who disagree with the policies of the current administration.
Is this the president's idea of "moving America forward"?
We should pull the plug on the IRS' role in Obamacare, now -- before it's too late.
Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.
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