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St. Cloud Times - Your Turn: Bill Goes Back On Vow, Twists Irs Purpose


Location: St. Cloud, MN

President Obama claims that his heath care reform package recently signed into law will expand accessibility to health care.

What he hasn't been so keen on mentioning is the expanded role of the Internal Revenue Service in the oversight and compliance of his new legislation.

The IRS will gain access to the details of your health care plan and will have the authority to fine Americans who have not purchased "acceptable" health care coverage in the eyes of the government.

The bill results in a monumental change between the relationship of the taxpayer and the IRS, and adds responsibilities even the IRS admits it's not prepared to deal with.

Through the Individual Mandate Tax, the IRS would assess a fine of 2 percent of household income or a maximum of $2,250 per household -- whichever is greater -- for not carrying proper coverage.

However, the 2009 IRS Taxpayer Advocate's report to Congress articulated the concern that running a new program (such as health care) through the IRS brings about a "conflict with the IRS' traditional mission (of revenue collection)."

The bill states the IRS is the regulator of "economic and financial decisions about how and when health care is paid for, and when health insurance is purchased," and thus, acts as both prosecutor and judge to every American citizen regarding their health care plan.

Unless, of course, you're in one of two groups of people: either in jail or in the United States illegally. The IMT does not apply to prisoners, who are already receiving taxpayer-funded health care.

Illegal immigrants who evade income taxes can still receive treatment for a head cold at the ER without paying any part of the fine for not carrying proper coverage.

Further, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 46 percent of the IMT collected by IRS agents would come from the pockets of families making less than 300 percent of the federal poverty line, about $66,150 for a family of four.

That's a direct contradiction of the president's promise that those making $250,000 or less would not see any tax increases.

It is simply unacceptable for this president to destroy one promise to the American people while promising free health care to those here illegally.

The CBO suggests the IRS' budget could grow by $10 billion to cover new IRS employees and the costs that come with them. That's wages, overhead and health coverage all paid for on the taxpayers' dime.

The only thing this bill expands is government power. It's a boondoggle for the American people and sponsors government growth through increased taxation. If the president and Congress wanted to enact real reforms, they should have listened to the two-thirds of Americans who, based on polls, believe this overhaul expands government's role in health care and costs way too much money.

Instead, the federal government has decided to tell the American people that we know better than you do. Ironically, it's the American people who will have the final say come November.

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