The Obama administration is quietly diverting roughly $500 million to the IRS to help implement the president’s healthcare law.
The money is only part of the IRS’s total implementation spending, and it is being provided outside the normal appropriations process. The tax agency is responsible for several key provisions of the new law, including the unpopular individual mandate.It has moved aggressively to get important policies in place. And, according to a review of budget documents and figures provided by congressional staff, the administration is also burning through implementation funding provided in the healthcare law.
The law contains dozens of targeted appropriations to implement specific provisions. It also gave the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a $1 billion implementation fund, to use as it sees fit. Republicans have called it a “slush fund.”
HHS plans to drain the entire fund by September — before the presidential election, and more than a year before most of the healthcare law takes effect. Roughly half of that money will ultimately go to the IRS.Over 800 new IRS employees to administer Obamacare. The economy must be booming!The transfers also allow the IRS to make the healthcare law a smaller part of its public budget figures. For example, the tax agency requested $8 million next year to implement the individual mandate, and said the money would not pay for any new employees.
An IRS spokeswoman would not say how much money has been spent so far implementing the individual mandate.
Republicans charged during the legislative debate over healthcare that the IRS would be hiring hundreds of new agents to enforce the mandate and throwing people in jail because they don’t have insurance.
However, the mandate is just one part of the IRS’s responsibilities.
The healthcare law includes a slew of new taxes and fees, some of which are already in effect. The tax agency wants to hire more than 300 new employees next year to cover those tax changes, such as the new fees on drug companies and insurance policies.
The IRS will also administer the most expensive piece of the new law — subsidies to help low-income people pay for insurance, which are structured as tax credits. The agency asked Congress to fund another 537 new employees dedicated to administering the new subsidies.