We can’t trust the IRS to enforce Obamacare

Former Rep. Tom Price Tom Price, a former secretary of Health and Human Services and a former member of Congress, is a senior healthcare policy fellow at the Job Creators Network.
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Over the past few months, we have learned about the repeated, systemic harassment of ordinary citizens by the Internal Revenue Service. Moreover, the IRS has intentionally targeted individuals who simply wished to exercise their right of free speech.

The offenses are chilling. Requiring civic groups to complete book reports. Demanding to know the content of individuals’ prayers. Disclosing confidential information about conservative donors to political opponents. These are examples of deliberate intimidation perpetrated under the guise of governmental impartiality.

Which is why it is all the more troubling that the IRS’s next order of business will be to force the purchase of health coverage by all Americans. Yes, the very entity that has proven itself either unwilling or unable to prudently enforce current laws is now in charge of enforcing the president’s health care law.

The American people already fear the reach and power of the Internal Revenue Service. Good and decent people live in fear of an IRS audit, knowing that it can turn their lives upside down. This is how the IRS treats taxpayers. Should we allow them to treat patients this way, too?

We shouldn’t. That’s why House Republicans are taking steps to prevent the IRS from implementing or enforcing any component of President Obama’s health care law.

The plan I’ve proposed — the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act, respects the will of the American people and helps to rein in an out-of-control federal agency that has victimized too many of our fellow Americans. It enjoys the support of numerous organizations, as well as thousands of Americans who have voiced their opposition to the IRS’s role in Obamacare.

The Obama Administration is choosing to ignore the fact that the American people oppose the president’s health care law because they understand it’s terrible policy. They know it’s bad for patients, families, physicians and job creators. Americans understand it will increase costs, since they have already seen premiums rise. It will decrease quality, stifle American medical innovation, limit access to health care, prevent physician responsiveness and restrict choices for patients. And they know it will destroy jobs as employers are forced to shift workers from full- time to part-time or choose not to hire at all.

In the meantime, the Obama Administration persists – hoping that their tactical moves of delay and distraction will convince the public to forget about how much and why they dislike this Washington takeover of health care. And to make matters worse, they are empowering the IRS – an agency that has undeniably forfeited its claim to fairness and impartiality – to enforce this law.

Health care is one of the most private and personal aspects of our lives. Patients should be able to make the kinds of decisions that work best for them under the direction of their physician. Washington, especially the IRS, should not be involved in that process.

Prohibiting the enforcement and implementation of this disastrous law by the IRS is the first step of many. House Republicans will continue to honor our commitment to a total and permanent repeal of Obamacare, as well as the advancement of positive, patient-centered solutions that puts patients, families and doctors at the heart of health care, instead of Washington.

Congressman Tom Price, M.D., is the vice chairman of the House Committee on the Budget. He is also a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means. An orthopaedic surgeon, he spent more than 20 years caring for patients in the metro Atlanta area.