Much is being reported today about a section of the proposed health care bill that would essentially allow the government open access to our IRS records. As reported by CBS News:
Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and “other information as is prescribed by” regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for “affordability credits.”
Now I’m not saying that this doesn’t sound ominous, however the reality is if they want this information now they will find a way to access it.
As Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey reports:
The latter is perhaps the most disturbing. In sections 431 and 245, the breach of privacy begins with an applicant requesting the “affordability credits,” or in more accurate language, subsidies (or perhaps even more honest, welfare). In 1801, the government simply grabs everyone’s records and starts perusing them, looking for welfare-qualified Americans who may not yet know it.
I agree with Ed Morrissey, this is disturbing. Section 1801 states:
SEC. 1801. DISCLOSURES TO FACILITATE IDENTIFICATION OF INDIVIDUALS LIKELY TO BE INELIGIBLE FOR THE LOW-INCOME ASSISTANCE UNDER THE MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PROGRAM TO ASSIST SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION’S OUTREACH TO ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS.
This gives them access to all of our records to determine both eligibility and ineligibility. They’ve covered all bases with this wording. The plus side is that we have a chance of our Congress members tax returns being ‘accidentally’ released. ;o)
In all seriousness though there is a good reason that is Section 1801 worded in this manner – because of Section 1203:
SEC. 1203. ELIMINATING BARRIERS TO ENROLLMENT.
(iii) CERTIFICATION OF INCOME AND RESOURCES.—For purposes of applying this section—
(I) an individual shall be permitted to apply on the basis of self-certification of income and resources; and
(II) matters attested to in the application shall be subject to appropriate methods of verification without the need of the individual to provide additional documentation, except in extraordinary situations as determined by the Commissioner.
Section 1203 goes on to refer back to Section 1801.
For provision authorizing disclosure of return information to facilitate identification of individuals likely to be ineligible for low-income subsidies under Medicare prescription drug program, see section 1801.
Yes, you will not be required to provide any documentation or PROVE that you qualify for the Medicare Prescription Plan. They are utilizing the language in Section 1801 to justify not verifying eligibility as they will already have the information to determine if you are eligible. See, they’re just trying to make the process easier on applicants (sarc).
It gets better. Once you have been approved to receive an affordability credit (Section 245) for your insurance coverage, there is no mechanism in the bill to verify continued qualification of your income. The individual that receives the affordability credit is responsible to advise the Commissioner that there has been a change in their financial condition.
If the Commissioner receives new information from an individual regarding the family income of the individual, the Commissioner shall provide for a redetermination of the individual’s eligibility to be an affordable credit eligible individual.
To recap – you won’t have to prove you are eligible to receive prescription coverage and once you qualify for low-income health insurance coverage you will be covered until you let the government know you shouldn’t be.
I’m sure everyone will be honest enough to let the government know when they no longer qualify – right? The section goes on to state that if you are caught – you will be required to pay back the money and may have to pay a fine. Scary…………not.
Our government just doesn’t get it. This would absolutely be unconscionable to many Americans. There are many people in this Country that qualify for State or Federal assistance and under no circumstances would they accept the aid. They consider it charity, embarrassing and believe it is their job to take care of their family. How on earth can the government decide that you must take their hand-out – whether you want it or not? There is no conceivable way that it can be Constitutional to force people to accept aid.