IRS Scandal Raises Specter of Politically Motivated Healthcare Denials

By Jen Kuznicki | May 16, 2013 | 10:39am EDT
Byron York of the Washington Examiner wrote yesterday that the IRS scandal could lead to fears about the agency's role in enforcing Obamacare:

"The IRS will also decide who is, and who is not, eligible for Obamacare's subsidies. The law authorizes the IRS to share confidential taxpayer information with the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of determining those subsidies."

"In addition, the IRS will keep track of even the smallest changes in Americans' financial condition. Did you get a raise recently? You'll need to notify the IRS; it might affect your subsidy status. Have your hours been reduced at work? Notify the IRS. Change jobs? Same."

Those fears have been ongoing since Obamacare was first rammed through. Financial worries and concern over loss of property, along with the stress of a "new normal" sluggish economy have been at the top of the list of most thinking Americans.

Knowing what we are truly facing in a fiscal sense has dominated our lives, but the real fear that this IRS scandal raises is whether the "confidential taxpayer information" that IRS and HHS will be sharing will include political information.

If the IRS can flag your information and slow things down on something like tax-exempt status, can they do it when determining our use of health care? Clearly, the possibility is there.

If you consider that the IRS can, while threatening financial penalties, force you to give them information that they will share with your political enemies and HHS, who could very well be the ultimate decision maker on whether or not you or your mother gets a life-saving procedure, well, that is fear, my friend.

The way that the IPAB or "death panel" works is that if Medicare costs get too high, it triggers a 15 member panel of political appointees who will recommend what gets cut. If the panel doesn't do its job, Sebelius makes the recommendation and sends it to Congress. The whole thing is set up, on its face, as a bipartisan attempt to control costs in healthcare, because isn't that why the ACA was needed in the first place? Healthcare is just so darned expensive.

The real target of the IPAB is end of life care, intensive care, life support, and quality of life management. We all remember Obama's reply to Jane Sturm when she questioned him about a pacemaker for her 100 year old mother. He said:

"I don't think that we can make judgments based on people's 'spirit.' That would be a pretty subjective decision to be making. I think we have to have rules that say that we are going to provide good quality care for all people. End-of-life care is one of the most difficult sets of decisions that we're going to have to make. But understand that those decisions are already being made in one way or another. If they're not being made under Medicare and Medicaid, they're being made by private insurers. At least we can let doctors know - and your mom know - that you know what, maybe this isn't going to help. Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."

Obama has targeted the tea party in speeches and at fundraising events, and in doing so, apparently set policy for the IRS. The answer to Jane Sturm sets HHS policy, doesn't it? But here is the other side of that IRS coin: let's say that the IPAB determines that all pacemakers are outlawed over 75, and someone well-connected politically to the ruling party wants their mom to receive one. It's not a leap to understand that she'll get a waiver and your conservative mother will get a pill.

It's not a leap because waivers have already been given politically, and conservatives have already been flagged by the IRS, and the IRS has already shared their information with well-funded political enemies.

The assumption that justice is blind is obliterated. A child could point out 'which of these things' aren't fair.

It is sometimes frustrating to hear political messaging that continuously points out the cost to the taxpayer. It most certainly is on the minds of taxpayers, and we all see these costs coming, we just aren't sure yet of the actual numbers. But, how can we not think, especially now, how our political activity might determine our care?

When the ACA was passed, John Dingell, a Democrat congressman from Michigan said:

"The harsh fact of the matter is when you're going to pass legislation that will cover 300 American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people."

Controlling the people is what animates progressives.  They thrive on micromanaging people, and using social justice to force equal outcomes.  If you disagree with them, they force you to agree - especially, when they are in positions of power.  It's their philosophy.

From the get-go, conservatives have warned about the danger of a federal government so powerful that it could extinguish your dreams, your hopes for your future, your ability to get ahead, and your freedom in general.

The American Way is to allow individuals the freedom to make their own choices with their own ability to make their own life.    You have within you the intelligence, the determination and the spirit to make and reach goals and achieve success.  That way has been knocked down and trampled upon because power-hungry progressive politicians have decided they are the new royalty, who will be making all of your decisions for you.

They have all control.

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