The chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee is calling on the Internal Revenue Service to provide a detailed accounting of how much taxpayer money will be used to implement the health care reform law and many IRS employees will be needed to work on it.
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Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr., M.D., wrote a letter Thursday to IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller asking him to detail how much money the IRS will allocate to implement the Affordable Care Act. Previously, the IRS estimated that it would need to dedicate nearly 1,300 full-time employees to the effort by Sept. 30, 2012 and another 895 by the end of fiscal year 2013.
However, according to earlier reports from the Government Accountability Office and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, these numbers appear to have been significantly understated and called into question the IRS staffing estimate because it was not backed up by any meaningful analysis or documentation, Boustany pointed out.
The GAO report also found that the IRS did not have adequate processes in place to accurately review and account for the taxpayer dollars the IRS are spending to implement the controversial law, Boustany’s office noted.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the IRS will be in charge of administering the health law, including overseeing tax credits and tax increases and ensuring compliance with major provisions of the law such as the individual mandate. Boustany’s subcommittee held a hearing earlier this month on the tax-related provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The requests made in his letter to Miller also came in response to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew’s answers to questions for the record submitted during his Senate Finance Committee confirmation process.
“In written answers to questions for the record then Treasury Secretary nominee Jacob Lew stated that the IRS has ‘just under 700 full-time equivalent staff” working on ACA implementation,” Boustany wrote. “Have any agencies made unreimbursed detailees available to the IRS or otherwise loaned employees to assist with implementation? If so, how many and from which agencies? How many staff were hired by the IRS for ACA implementation?”
Separately, House Republicans passed the budget plan Thursday proposed by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which included provisions repealing President Obama's signature health care reform law.