Politics

IRS scandal will prevent Obamacare implementation from being fully funded

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Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

The growing IRS targeting scandal will prevent the IRS’ scheduled implementation of Obamacare from being sufficiently funded, even though the agency will have sweeping brand new powers to enforce President Obama’s health care law, according to experts.

“The IRS has 47 separate powers under Obamacare. That’s a problem for the IRS because it is mired in scandal. Congress understandably is not moved to do more on [funding IRS enforcement of Obamacare] right now, so the Obama administration does not have the money they were hoping for for implementation,” Ryan Ellis, tax policy director of Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Caller.

“The Obama administration has requested increases in their budgets for the last few years for IRS enforcement for Obamacare. That money was not freed up due to sequestration and other things. But the scandals sealed it. If there was going to be any political possibility that Congress would approve an increase in the IRS’ budget for enforcement, that’s gone now. The IRS is going to be lucky to get away with anything but a freeze,” Ellis said.

Beginning in 2014, the IRS will enforce Obamacare, requiring businesses and taxpayers to prove that they have fulfilled the law’s employer and individual mandate requirements. While the IRS has already received $500 million to help enforce Obamacare, the beleaguered agency needs hundreds of millions more to fully enforce the law, according to the Obama administration’s own projections.

President Obama’s 2014 budget asks for $1 billion in new funding for the IRS, including $440 million for Obamacare implementation.

The IRS scandal will prevent that budget from being passed without revisions to the IRS budget, according to Ellis and fellow experts at Americans for Tax Reform.

Republican Rep. Tom Price introduced the “Keep IRS Off Your Health Care Act” to ban the IRS from carrying out its scheduled implementation of Obamacare. Price’s bill quickly gained 100 House co-sponsors. Republican senator Dean Heller also introduced an amendment to a Senate farm bill to prevent the IRS from receiving more funding to implement Obamacare.

“I am deeply troubled that the IRS has been improperly targeting conservative groups. Public distrust in this agency is already at an all-time high, so providing the IRS with more power to enforce this flawed health care policy makes no sense. For these reasons, I have offered the “IRS Accountability Act” as an amendment to the Farm bill. Simply put, right now, we can’t trust the IRS to do its job,” Heller said.

Despite funding difficulties, the IRS still plans to roll out its enforcement of the controversial health-care law in 2014, and Ellis said that many taxpayers could be caught paying money to the scandal-ridden agency.

“For the individual mandate, you’re going to have to prove to the IRS that you purchased health insurance,” Ellis said, noting that all taxpayers must complete an additional tax form to prove Obamacare compliance.

The form could potentially ask taxpayers how much they paid in health insurance premiums.

“If you answer it and you say for half the year i didn’t have health insurance and I didn’t have any good reason — you’re going to have to pay the individual mandate. For most people, that will be 2.5 percent of their income, prorated throughout the course of the year,” Ellis said.

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