Given that, inspector general Russell George concluded, "The IRS is unlikely to achieve any significant reduction in Earned Income Tax Credit improper payments." So, look for billions more to be wasted in improper payments this year. And next year. And so on.
This is the very same IRS that will administer Obamacare's subsidies and penalties. Does anyone doubt that in coming years the IRS will use the same excuses -- complexity, a desire not to discourage qualified recipients -- to explain its lack of enforcement, or perhaps refusal to enforce, Obamacare's requirements?
The process has already begun. Back in July, the Obama administration announced it will not require state-run Obamacare exchanges to verify whether individuals who receive subsidies for health coverage are actually qualified for those subsidies. The administration will rely instead on an honor system in which it accepts an applicant's word that he or she is eligible -- a decision many analysts call an invitation to fraud.
In September, the Republican-controlled House passed a bill to require verification for all subsidies. This month, a much weakened version of that proposal became part of the settlement of the government shutdown. But the bottom line is, don't expect the federal government to do much checking on who is receiving subsidies.
And even a stringent verification requirement will not work if the IRS decides not to enforce it for fear of discouraging people who legitimately qualify for Obamacare subsidies. Since that has been the case with IRS non-enforcement of the president's executive order covering improper Earned Income Tax Credit payments, is there any reason to believe the IRS would not use the same rationale for Obamacare?
Right now the public debate over Obamacare is consumed by news of the exchange website's failures. It's a serious situation that could have a long-lasting effect on the system. But at some point the administration will fix its technical problems. And then the news can move on to the next stage of Obamacare dysfunction -- like a new scandal with the IRS and subsidy payments.
Michelle Obama: "Make It A Christmas Treat Around The Table To Talk About...Health Care" | Greg Hengler