Both the U.S. Treasury Department and the White House are scurrying to distance themselves from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s admission that it targeted conservative organizations. While the tax agency has said that the “enemies list” was the result of the actions of a few rogue agents, former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich predicted Monday that this scandal will haunt President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Noting that the successful implementation of Obamacare depended on the IRS, Gingrich said that huge problems could materialize for the legislation as result of the agency’s targeting of conservative groups. Because the healthcare reform bill will allow eligible individuals who purchase coverage under a qualified health plan through one of the exchanges to receive a tax credit beginning in 2014, the IRS be empowered to track individuals’ private health information.
“Obamacare relies very heavily on the IRS,” Gingrich said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Now every American understands there are elements of the IRS that go off on their own, do what they want to. The effort now is to say it was low-level employees. Yet, those low-level employees apparently saw public reports that they weren’t doing what they were doing and nobody informed the IRS or the treasury.”
This provision of Obamacare that gives the IRS access to healthcare information has long made conservative groups feel nervous about the government’s expanded powers, and the agency’s alleged non-partisan actions have prompted increased concerns over whether the new information in the IRS’s databases will be kept private.“Why would you trust the bureaucracy with your health if you can’t trust the bureaucracy with your politics? … There are bureaucrats in the IRS who are capable of ruining your life while lying about it,” Gingrich said.