IRS scandal fuels Republican fight against Obama's health reform

The fight to repeal President Obama's healthcare law ignited this week following the revelation that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

Republicans, already set to vote this week on a full repeal of the 2010 healthcare reform law, believe the revelation gives more credence to their complaints of government overreach, according to The Washington Post.  Half of the billion dollars set to cover implementation of the Affordable Care Act went to the IRS, the Post reported, and beginning in 2014 the agency will distribute subsides for healthcare coverage through state exchanges and issue penalties against those who do not obtain insurance or to businesses that don't offer it.

The GOP claims the IRS will use the funds to hire 16,000 new agents, a number factcheckers dispute, according to the Post.  However, the Obama administration has asked to add $1 billion more to the IRS' 2014 budget to implement the law. One Republican senator already has announced plans for legislation to suspend new funding to the IRS.

"With the recent events related to the Internal Revenue Service, I feel it is necessary that both Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services look closely at the money given to the IRS through the health care law,"  Dean Heller (R-Nev.)  wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, reports the Post.

Although many Republicans also have jumped on the bandwagon, in a separate Washington Post Wonkblog post writer Sarah Kliff says the scandal probably won't hurt Obamacare. " At most, the IRS is probably in for an increased amount of oversight as it moves forward on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, more questions about the data it will collect and how it will be used," she  wrote. "Aside from that, there's not much Congress can do to stand in the agency's way that they have not done before."

To learn more:
- here's the Washington Post article
- read the Wonkblog post

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