GOP, IRS scandals continue to shake up health reform implementation

With the Internal Revenue Service scandal strengthening the Republican fight against the Affordable Care Act, GOP opposition got an added boost yesterday, with news that the IRS official in charge when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for healthcare legislation, ABC News reported.

Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012, and now serves as director of the IRS' Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News.

That discovery comes as the House voted to get rid of the health reform law for the 37th time, with all Republicans voting in favor of repeal, The Hills' Healthwatch reported. However, the Democrat-controlled Senate means reform implementation will proceed as planned.

During the two-hour debate preceding the repeal vote, Republicans made a case for dismantling and abolishing President Obama's healthcare overhaul based on the fact that the IRS will enforce the law, Healthwatch noted.

"Obamacare empowers the agency that just violated the public's trust by secretly targeting conservative groups," said Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.).

However, Democrats scoffed at Republicans for linking the healthcare reform repeal vote to the IRS scandal, and called it a waste of time, according to PoliticoPro.

PoliticoPro noted the matters related to IRS scandal--agency employees singling out conservative groups for harsh tax-exemption scrutiny--are a separate issue from its health reform enforcement efforts.  

For more:
- here's the ABC News article
- read the Healthwatch article
- read the PoliticoPro article