Monday, January 4, 2010

The IRS and Healthcare: Kaiser Finallys Sees the Light

Kaiser Health News, the arm of Kaiser Permanente, has finally caught on that the IRS will be the enforcer of the new health care plans. We noted that when the first House Bill appeared almost nine months ago. It was not hidden, it was out there for all to see. This meant that we would need a greatly expanded IRS and most likely many more prisons for those not complying one way of the other. Again we have been saying this forever. The KHN article states:

"The House and Senate bills require most Americans to have health insurance and to prove it on their annual federal tax return. Those who don’t would pay a penalty to the IRS.

That’s one of several key duties the IRS would assume under the bills that have been approved by the House and Senate and will be merged by negotiators from both chambers.

The agency also would distribute as much as $140 billion a year in new government subsidies to help small employers and as many as 19 million lower-income people buy coverage.

In addition, the IRS would collect hundreds of billions of dollars in new fees on employers, drug companies and device makers, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Some critics of the health bill question whether the IRS, which has struggled in recent years with budget problems, staffing shortages and outdated computer systems, will be up to the job of enforcing the mandate and efficiently handling the subsidies.

“It’s hard to see how the IRS could take on the huge responsibility it would be given under pending health care legislation without some real glitches, or worse,” said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee who voted against the bill with every other Republican senator."

They then continue regarding the costs:

The CBO estimated the IRS would need $5 billion to $10 billion in the first decade to cover the costs of its expanded role. Its annual budget is currently $11.5 billion.

The costs have NOT been funded under the Bills as best as can be determined. Thus the IRS will ever so softly creep into each and every person's life, whether they pay taxes or not. For the Bills require universal compliance one way or the other. There are many ways to do this other than the IRS but leave it to Congress.