Monday, August 5, 2013

Tim Kaine on Improving Obamacare

Possibly a response to another petition I signed, from Senator Tim Kaine...who still doesn't get it. For starters, what about an acknowledgment that at least some of those 27 million Americans don't "lack" medical insurance so much as we reject medical insurance:

Thank you for contacting me about health care reform.  I appreciate hearing from you.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, enacted major market reforms and extended health coverage to 27 million Americans who lack health insurance.  I support the ACA as an important first step towards putting patients in charge of their own health care decisions and slowing the growth of health care costs. 
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is charged with administering several important sections of the ACA.  The IRS must certify if an individual has health insurance coverage and if that plan is offered through a health insurance exchange, determine eligibility for premium tax credits, verify that large employers are offering health coverage to their employees and report the dollar value of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage on each employee's W-2 form.
An audit conducted earlier this year found that the IRS continues to make progress in implementing these reporting requirements.  The Treasury Inspector General made recommendations for more effective use of information and suggested steps for better coordination within the agency.  The IRS has implemented these suggestions.
While the ACA has added new mandates to the IRS's mission, the health care reform law does not give the IRS access to or control over the medical records of any American. 
The allegations of impropriety involving certain groups seeking tax-exempt status concern me greatly, as do the findings of a related report by the Treasury Department's Inspector General.  There is no excuse for any ideological discrimination or abuse in our system. 
On May 15, 2013 President Barack Obama announced that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had requested and accepted the resignation of Steven Miller, the acting commissioner of the IRS.  President Obama has named Daniel Werfel, the controller of the Office of Management and Budget, to be the acting commissioner of the IRS.  The acting commissioner will conduct a top-to-bottom review of the agency, and the Justice Department is also conducting an investigation.  Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and Senator Max Baucus, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, have announced they will hold hearings on this matter.  I take these allegations seriously and will work with my colleagues to understand what happened and to implement appropriate safeguards to prevent this from ever happening again.  The American people must have faith that there will not be any politics in the way taxes are assessed or collected. 
I will continue to work on improving ACA and reducing the cost of health care for Americans.  For more information about ACA, including how it will affect you, details about every feature of the law, and to read the text of the law itself, please visit"