Heller Bill Would Bar IRS From Enforcing Obamacare

Tuesday, 14 May 2013 02:27 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Nevada Sen. Dean Heller is drafting legislation to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from hiring new agents to administer Obamacare, following the disclosure that the agency has been targeting conservative groups for heightened scrutiny.

"It is necessary that both Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] look closely at the [tax] money given to the IRS through the healthcare law," the Republican wrote Tuesday to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, according to The Hill.

Though policy experts say the Affordable Care Act has strict guidelines for federal tax officials to follow, Republicans question whether the IRS can be trusted to be neutral in its enforcement of major provisions of the healthcare reform law. The agency, for example, will be responsible for leveling tax penalties for again those who refuse to obey the insurance mandate requiring that everyone purchase healthcare coverage.

The agency will also manage the law's new streams of tax revenue from healthcare stakeholders.

Heller's bill, expected to be introduced later this week, would suspend funding for new employees to carry out those functions, The Hill reported.

"I believe we need to address [the issue] now, which may mean calling for a temporary suspension until it is clearer where this funding will go," Heller wrote.



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