GOP: IRS scandal one more strike against health care law
IRS responsible for enforcing several Affordable Care Act provisions
Republicans capped the week with another attack against President Obama's health care reform, criticizing the law and its relationship with the Internal Revenue Service.
"It's the IRS that will be responsible for enforcing many of these regulations. If we've learned anything this week, it's that the IRS needs less power, not more," Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, an anesthesiologist of nearly 30 years' experience, said Saturday in the Republican weekly address.
The Republican-controlled House passed for the third time a repeal of Obamacare this week, a measure that has little chance of going anywhere in the Senate. The vote marked the 37th time Republicans have attempted to eliminate the 2010 law.
Adding fuel to their fire this week was the controversy in which the IRS admitted to targeting conservative groups applying for tax exempt status during the past three years. Two top officials stepped down over the ordeal, a scandal that drew scorn from President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
While the outgoing IRS commissioner, Steven Miller, said the over-scrutinizing of the groups amounted to "foolish mistakes," he maintained in a congressional hearing Friday that they were not conducted out of political bias.
Republicans, however, used the controversy to further criticize health care reform, as the IRS is tasked with implementing many of the law's provisions. Lawmakers also highlighted the fact that the current director of the Affordable Care Act office in the IRS used to head up the agency's tax exempt/government entities office, the same department taking heat over the recent dust-up with conservative groups.
"You can't make this stuff up," Harris said in the address.
With several of the health care reforms taking effect next year, Republicans are drumming up more opposition to the law. Harris argued the law's mandate to purchase health insurance would "turn lives upside down" and fears of rising costs are discouraging small business owners from hiring new workers.
"Obamacare is knocking Americans off the ladder of opportunity, and the sooner we repeal it, the sooner we can start fixing health care for working families," said the congressman, who was elected in 2010.
Americans remain divided over Obamacare. Forty-six percent disapprove of the law, while 41% approve of the 2010 health care reform act, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last month.
Forty-one percent said the law will not affect them, while 37% say it will hurt rather than help, the poll showed.
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