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There's been a lot of discussion about the new and powerful federal agencies that would be created by the passage of a national health care bill. The Health Choices Administration, the Health Benefits Advisory Committee, the Health Insurance Exchange — there are dozens in all.
But if the plan envisioned by President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats is enacted, the primary federal bureaucracy responsible for implementing and enforcing national health care will be an old and familiar one: the Internal Revenue Service. Under the Democrats' health care proposals, the already powerful — and already feared — IRS would wield even more power and extend its reach even farther into the lives of ordinary Americans, and the presidentially-appointed head of the new health care bureaucracy would have access to confidential IRS information about millions of individual taxpayers.
In short, health care reform, as currently envisioned by Democratic leaders, would be built on the foundation of an expanded and more intrusive IRS.
Under the various proposals now on the table, the IRS would become the main agency for determining who has an "acceptable" health insurance plan; for finding and punishing those who don't have such a plan; for subsidizing individual health insurance costs through the issuance of a tax credits; and for enforcing the rules on those who attempt to opt out, abuse, or game the system. A substantial portion of H.R. 3200, the House health care bill, is devoted to amending the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 in order to give the IRS the authority to perform these new duties.
The Democrats' plan would require all Americans to have "acceptable" insurance coverage (the legislation includes long and complex definitions of "acceptable") and would designate the IRS as the agency charged with enforcing that requirement. On your yearly 1040 tax return, you would be required to attest that you have "acceptable" coverage. Of course, you might be lying, or simply confused about whether or not you are covered, so the IRS would need a way to check your claim for accuracy. Under current plans, insurers would be required to submit to the IRS something like the 1099 form in which taxpayers report outside income. The IRS would then check the information it receives from the insurers against what you have submitted on your tax form.
If it all matches up, you're fine. If it doesn't, you will hear from the IRS. And if you don't have "acceptable" coverage, you will be subject to substantial fines — fines that will be administered by the IRS.
Under some versions of health reform now circulating on Capitol Hill, the IRS would also be intimately involved in how you pay for insurance. Everyone would be required to buy coverage. The millions of Americans who can't afford it would receive a subsidy to pay for it. Under the version of the plan currently under negotiation in the Senate Finance Committee, that subsidy would come through the IRS in the form of a refundable tax credit. Under the House plan, the subsidy would come directly from the Health Choices Administration.
In either scenario, the IRS would be the key to making the system work. Before you could receive any subsidy, whether through the IRS or not, the Health Choices Administration would have to determine whether you are eligible for it. To do so, the bills under consideration would give the Health Choices Commissioner the authority to demand sensitive, confidential information from the IRS about individual taxpayers. The IRS would have to provide it.
Under current law, it is a felony for a government official to release taxpayer information in all but the most limited of circumstances. One such exception is for law enforcement; the IRS is allowed to give taxpayer information to prosecutors in criminal cases. The information can also, in some instances, be released to the Social Security Administration and the Veterans' Administration for the determination of benefits. The health care bills would change the Internal Revenue Code to permit the IRS to give similar information to the vast, new health care bureaucracy.
That means the personal tax information of millions of Americans would enter the system whether they want it to or not. "There's a mandate to buy insurance," says one Republican House aide. "You have to buy it. You have millions of people who can't buy it without a subsidy, so they will have no choice but to accept the subsidy in order to buy insurance, and then the Health Choices Commissioner will have access to their tax records."
"How many hands would this information go through?" asks a GOP source in the Senate. "What are the quality controls? This increases the risk of misusing this information."
Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown in the economy, I, President Obama have decided to implement a scheme to put workers of 50 years of age and above on early retirement.
This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early). Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to Congress to be considered for the SHAFT scheme (Special Help After Forced Termination). Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW program (Scheme Covering Retired-Early Workers).
A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as I, President Obama deem appropriate. Persons who have been RAPED could get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependants & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance). Obviously persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or SCREWED any further by me, President Obama.
Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on will receive as much # (Special High Intensity Training) as possible. I, President Obama have always prided myself on the amount of # I give our citizens.
Should you feel that you do not receive enough #, please bring this to the attention of your Congressman, who has been trained to give you all the # you can handle.
Sincerely, President Obama
P.S. Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas and oil, as well as current market conditions, the Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off.
Used colloquially to indicate that an adverse situation is about to repeat itself, and that acquiescence is the wisest course of action.
Byron York is chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner. He was formerly Washington correspondent for the National Review . Prior to joining the National Review, York wrote for the American Spectator.
York's 2005 book, The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy (Crown Forum, ISBN 1400082382), claims to contain "the untold story of how Democratic operatives, eccentric billionaires, liberal activists, and assorted celebrities tried to bring down a President - and why they'll try even harder next time" .
The Examiner's editorial page is heavily conservative; it is headed by Mark Tapscott, with American Spectator senior editor Quin Hillyer serving as its associate editor. The paper's national political coverage, which also appears in Examiner papers in Baltimore and San Francisco, was previously headed by Bill Sammon, a former Washington Times reporter who has written several books praising George W. Bush. (Sammon is now the deputy managing editor for Fox News Channel's Washington bureau.) Chris Stirewalt, who has been described as "a true conservative voice", is the Examiner's political editor. Mary Katherine Ham, former managing editor of the conservative Townhall.com, briefly served as the Examiner's online editor for a few months in 2008  before joining the Weekly Standard. Matthew Sheffield, executive editor of the Media Research Center blog NewsBusters, is in charge of the Examiner's website. Byron York, formerly of National Review, joined the paper in February 2009.
People often joke that government-run health care will have the efficiency of the motor vehicle department, and the compassion of the Internal Revenue Service. This joke will become reality if present Democratic health restructuring proposals are enacted.
Under both the House and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee bills released to the public, the Internal Revenue Service will play a key role in monitoring and enforcing health care mandates against individual taxpayers. Yet the introduction of the IRS into the health care system has received scant attention.
The Senate bill imposes a new requirement that all persons who provide health care coverage to others must file a return with the IRS listing the names, addresses, social security numbers, and the coverage period for each person, and "such other information as the Secretary [of Health and Human Services] may prescribe." (Section 161(b) starting at page 107). The bill does not limit what information the Secretary may request, so it is conceivable and likely that information as to the nature of the coverage, the family members included, and other details will be reported to the IRS.
The House bill contains similar provisions in section 401(b) (at pp. 175-176). The following information must be reported by the person providing health coverage:
(A) the name, address, and TIN of the primary insured and the name of each other individual obtaining coverage under the policy, (B) the period for which each such individual was provided with the coverage referred to in subsection (a), and (C) such other information as the Secretary may require.
This information is to be provided to the IRS for good reason. The House bill provides for a tax on people who do not have acceptable coverage at "any time" during the tax year. House bill section 401 provides for a new section 59B (at pp. 167-168) of the Internal Revenue Code:
(a) TAX IMPOSED.—In the case of any individual who does not meet the requirements of subsection (d) at any time during the taxable year, there is hereby imposed a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the excess of—
(1) the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income for the taxable year, over
(2) the amount of gross income specified in section 6012(a)(1) with respect to the taxpayer.
The Senate version is similar, although the tax is called a "shared responsibility payment" not a tax. Section 161 (at pp. 103-104) words new section 59B of the IRC to require lack of coverage for a month (subject to certain exemptions) before the tax kicks in, and does not specify a specific percentage, but instead, directs that annually
the Secretary shall seek to establish the minimum practicable amount that can accomplish the goal of enhancing participation in qualifying coverage (as so defined).
The reporting requirements can only be understood in this tax context. In order to know which taxpayers to tax, the IRS needs to know which taxpayers do not have coverage received from someone else (normally, an employer).
These reporting provisions would allow the IRS to cross-check income tax returns and health coverage filings, and withhold tax refunds or utilize other collection methods for persons who do not have coverage unless they can prove they have acceptable coverage from some other source. This is similar to the cross-checking the IRS does on income reported separately by the person making the payment and the taxpayer receiving the payment. But for the first time the IRS is not checking for income to tax, but for lack of health coverage.
These provisions should have people interested in privacy greatly concerned. While income information already is reported to the IRS, the IRS traditionally has not received personal health care information about individuals.
The IRS involved in health care monitoring and enforcement. Somehow, I doubt that most supporters of Democratic health care restructuring concepts will like this detail. But it's in there.
...We forget that eventually we will be putting our health care into the hands of an IRS-like monolith that will dispense health care according to a set of massive manuals of regulations, loopholes and exceptions that Congress will add to each year....
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, they are not however, entitled to their own set of facts. - Sam Donaldson
Originally posted by warrenb
reply to post by maybereal11
Did anyone ask for your opinions?
Is someone forcing you to make posts without reading a thread?
You have only your own prejudices and pre-conceived notions of reality to blame for your ignorance on matters you clearly state that you refuse to educate yourself about.
Maybe forums just aren't your thing