The IRS role in Obamacare and how Republicans are using it

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. (Alex Wong/Getty).
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. (Alex Wong/Getty).

Republicans have wasted little time trying to leverage the IRS scandal, using the issue to attack President Obama’s health-care law and a handful of House Democrats who have voted against repealing the measure.

Readers might be wondering: What exactly is the connection between the IRS and ObamaCare?

Below are a few Washington Post articles that can help clarify things:

An explainer from Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff, who detailed the IRS’ role in Obamacare while examining whether the scandal, which involved inappropriate targeting of conservative groups, would hurt the health-care law.

The Fact Checker dispels myths about the IRS and Obamacare. Post columnist Glenn Kessler awarded Two Pinocchios to the National Republican Campaign Committee, determining that the group stretched too far with its ads claiming that the IRS will be “in charge of” Americans’ health care. Kessler also awarded Four Pinocchios to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for her unsupported assertion that Obamacare would give the IRS the “most personal, sensitive, intimate, private health-care information.”

Now for a review of how Republicans are trying to use the IRS scandal to their advantage.

A growing number of GOP lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Dean Heller (Nev.), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Bachmann, have suggested that the IRS simply cannot be trusted to implement its portion of Obama’s health-care law.

On Tuesday, the NRCC sent mobile billboards rolling through the congressional districts of House Democrats who are seen as vulnerable in the 2014 midterms, claiming that those lawmakers would “Put the IRS in charge of your health care.”

Rubio said Wednesday that the fact that the IRS plays a role in Obamacare proves that the law needs to be repealed.

Heller has also proposed legislation to prohibit new federal funding for implementation of the health-care law.

The GOP-controlled House already voted — largely along party lines — May 16 to repeal Obamacare, marking the 37th attempt by Republicans to abolish the law.

We should also note that Republicans have also sounded alarms over Sarah Hall Ingram, who once served as commissioner of the IRS division that conducted the targeting campaign, now heading the agency’s Affordable Care Act office.

Overall, GOP campaign strategists are connecting the politically toxic IRS scandal to Obama’s signature first-term legislation. Their goal is to repeal the law and bring down vulnerable House Democrats in the process.

“Every voter in some form has come in contact with the IRS and every family is concerned about their health care,” said NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek. “When you put the two together, they don’t want the people involved in the IRS scandal involved in any way with their health care.”

For more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, friend his Facebook page or e-mail josh.hicks@washpost.comE-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Steve Vogel · May 29, 2013