Continuing her pathetic habit of throwing any accusation against “Obamacare” her lying advisers can think of and hoping it will stick, Michele Bachmann went on a May 15, 2013 interview with FoxNEWS’s Greta Van Susteren and shamelessly used the Republican-manufactured IRS crisis to scaremonger Americans about the health reform bill.
She said, “So now we find out these people are making decisions based on our politics and beliefs, and they’re going to be in charge of our health care. There’s a huge national database that’s being created right now. Your health care, my health care, all the Fox viewers’ health care, their personal, intimate, most close to the vest secrets will be in that database, and the IRS is in charge of that database? So the IRS will have the ability potentially — will they? — to deny health care, to deny access, to delay health care? This is serious! Based upon our political beliefs? That’s why we have to repeal Obamacare. And I still think it’s possible.”
In order to do so, she was forced to make the false claim that the IRS is “going to be in charge of our healthcare”.
As usual, Politifact.com assessed the validity of Bachmann’s bizarre statement and found it to be completely false:
The IRS has a number of roles in implementing the health care law — the agency has posted alist that includes everything from levying additional payroll taxes on certain high-income Americans to taxation of medical devices and brand-name drugs. Its best known role, beginning in 2014, is to confirm that a taxpayer has health insurance and to assess a financial penalty if they do not. (The penalties start at $95 per adult in 2013 and rise to $695 per adult in 2016.)
In another fact-check, we discussed another key role for the IRS — approving subsidies for Americans seeking insurance on the newly created health exchanges. To do this, the IRS will need to check its databases to make sure an applicant is eligible to receive subsidies.
But while we noted that any technical failures in carrying out this task could be problematic, it would be a huge stretch to say that this power puts the IRS “in charge of our health care.”
For one thing, most Americans will not see any dramatic change in how they obtain insurance, since the law leaves in place the existing system of health coverage provided by employers.
To claim that one portion of the government — the IRS — is going to run health care is even more far-fetched. The IRS will have nothing to do with the nuts-and-bolts provision of health care to Americans.
Even among federal agencies, the law puts far more responsibility in the hands of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Dan Kotman, a spokesman for Bachmann, explained her comment by saying that “the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare only meets the constitutionality standard as a tax, and the entity in the United States that enforces tax policy is the IRS. If you don’t comply with Obamacare’s individual mandate, you will be answering to the IRS. That is clearly the context she’s talking within because she had just said, ‘The IRS, Greta, is the chief enforcer of Obamacare.’”
But several health policy experts agreed that’s not the same as the IRS being “in charge of our health care.”
William McBride, an economist with the business-backed Tax Foundation, said the IRS has been tasked with “a tremendous amount” and that the agency is in “uncharted territory,” but he added that he doubts the IRS “will effectively control much of anything related to health care.”
Other health policy specialists were even more blunt. “Not accurate,” said Gail Wilensky, who headed Medicare and Medicaid under President George H.W. Bush and who is now a health policy consultant. It’s a “ludicrous statement,” said Jonathan Oberlander, professor of social medicine and health policy and management at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Bachmann said the IRS is “going to be in charge of our health care.” The IRS does play a number of key roles under the health care law, but it’s wrong to say it would “be in charge” of any American’s health care. The IRS won’t oversee interactions between doctors and patients, nor will it play any more of a role than confirming that exchange purchasers qualify for subsidies. Even within the government, HHS plays a much bigger role. We rate Bachmann’s claim False.
It’s clear that the political operatives that script her narrative know full well that the IRS’s role in implementing Obamacare will largely be to help verify that Americans receive the health insurance subsidy they desperately need in order to gain access to quality healthcare–nothing more.
The fact that Bachmann is so brazenly willing to repeat a lie that will scare Americans into opposing a much-needed historic reform that evaded U.S. Presidents for almost 100 years speaks volumes about her ethics, morals, and self-purported religious righteousness.
Not even the fact that her claim in 2010 that Obamacare amounts to a “government takeover of healthcare” earned her the esteemed award for Politifact’s Lie of the Year, has stopped this mean-spirited woman from spouting her lies and it’s up to progressives to keep fact-checking her and setting the record straight as often as possible. It’s easy to write-off Bachmann and other nutty TEApublicans as crazy and just hope that they’ll go away, but remember; hoards of Americans listen to a believe their dangerous lies and the only way to truly combat their lunacy is to bring them out of the darkness and expose them.
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Watch the video of Bachmann and Greta Van Susteren here: