Keep the IRS out of healthcare

The Internal Revenue Service is an agency of the federal government like no other.  The IRS is more powerful than the Department of Justice; it is bigger than the governments of many small countries; it is able to strike fear in the hearts of the most self-assured and upright citizen with a single phone call; and if the Congress has its way, it will become even bigger and more powerful.  Under both versions of the health care legislation passed late last year by the House of Representatives and the Senate (totaling some 4,000 pages), the IRS will grow in size, budget and control.  It will become in many respects, the new gatekeeper for health insurance.

Considering that the IRS admitted in its most recent annual report to the Congress that it already is overwhelmed in its ability to respond to issues and questions raised by American taxpayers, it is indeed a troubling prospect that this single government agency would be empowered to decide if a family is maintaining the appropriate, government-favored health insurance. 

The IRS is able now to demolish the ability of an individual or a company to access their own monies.  It can freeze your bank accounts in an instant, and keep them sealed off virtually indefinitely – forcing you to defend yourself even as the government prevents you from having access to your assets.  The Service has long-enjoyed the power to find out everything it wants about your income and financial resources, under the guise of ensuring that you meet your burdens under our income tax system. By using its power to enforce income tax withholding schedules, this single agency can dictate how much of your salary you are entitled to take home.

Now, a majority of members of the Congress of the United States, purporting to “reform” and “improve” health care, are proposing to throw into the lap of this already-too powerful agency, additional powers.  This would come with quite a price tag attached to it, of course.  The current budget of the IRS already exceeds $12 billion; a bundle of cash spent on — and by — more than 90,200 employees of the Service.  The Congressional Budget Office has estimated IRS would need up to $10 billion more to meet the demands the health care proposals would impose on it, over the next decade. 

Tax considerations have long-served as the tail that wags the dog for businesses large and small; tax considerations often dictate whether a company saves or invests, hires or fires, and whether to raise or lower salaries and dividends.  Similarly, families and individuals deciding whether to invest earnings, save or borrow money, or plan their estate, must carefully consider tax consequences in making those decisions.  Frequent changes to the complex IRS Code, which already stretches to more than 70,000 pages, make the hurdles faced by even many tax experts formidable.

Also, under the massive legislation now being prepped for final passage and submission to President Barack Obama (waiting to proudly sign it in a huge Rose Garden ceremony), the most private  information in your tax returns and your files with the IRS, would be made available to the new federal overseer of the proposed health care system.  The Health Choices Administration Health Benefits Advisory Committee – with heaven knows how many employees — would have legal access to confidential tax and financial information on millions of taxpayers.  

Considering past abuses by IRS employees in misusing tax information — such as detailed in lengthy, 1998 congressional hearings – greatly expanding the universe of bureaucrats privy to sensitive, personal financial information should raise the hair on the back of every taxpayer’s neck.

Aside from the myriad other reasons America does not need government-mandated health care “reform,” putting the IRS into the mix may be the single best reason to defeat it.

56 comments Add your comment

Chris Broe

January 18th, 2010
7:34 am

Maybe we should call it the IRx.

Does the Rx fix require mandatory participation? I can’t afford it. I dropped out of my pre-med GED correspondence school after only two weeks. That’s why people think I misspel alot of words. I actually spell good. The problem is that even though I only lasted two weeks in pre med, nobody can read my typing.

I can recite the Latin names for all the bones in a frog’s body, however.


January 18th, 2010
7:57 am

Amen. I worked for them for three years. That’s all I could take.

El Jefe

January 18th, 2010
8:08 am

Hmm, here we have an agency, where you are guilty until proven otherwise, in charge of healthcare. Heck, they can’t even guarantee their advice on tax preparation, much less healthcare.

Why does this sound like a bad slasher movie?

Until you can prove that bone is broken and you’re in pain, take two aspirin and don’t come back.


January 18th, 2010
8:10 am

Post from the future:

We citizens of the U.S.I.R.S.A.CO.R.N.A. want to welcome you to the biggest. government. ever.


January 18th, 2010
8:11 am

I’m not going to argue your entire opinion other than to make two points. One is that if Americans think many government agencies don’t already have access to any information about you they want, you are deluding yourself. Legislation likes this just makes that access a bit more transparent.

Secondly, as an accountant, I can say that the only people who have had their accounts frozen by the IRS were seriously delinquent in meeting the tax burdens all other American individuals and businesses must meet. And I mean going well over a year without paying up monies that were due. One was a business client who had not been paying their payroll taxes and another a married couple who made close to $1M in annual income but apparently couldn’t be bothered to spend any of that to meet their tax obligations.

If you don’t want problems with the IRS, pay your darn taxes and keep things on the up and up. The tax code got complicated because lots of segments of the population did one of two things – whined that they were unfairly burdened and deserved special consideration or tried to find a way to cheat the system. Tax code is a reaction to both of those situations. Fact is, taxes are here to stay – it’s not like Republicans are going to do away with taxes across the board any more than Democrats would. Accept it, plan accordingly. Not that difficult.


January 18th, 2010
8:21 am

NO SARA–The tax codes is terribly complex and unjust that as citizens we’d have to navigate such a monstrosity of schedules and tables. How much the ordinary misses out on any tax breaks–by design I’m sure. Mr. Barr is correct.

A True Patriot

January 18th, 2010
8:32 am

This is to SARA the Accountant…….You sound like an advertisement for the IRS, extolling their generosity in dealing with people who possibly, and will never understand the complexities of the 70,000 page tax code. The IRS is the the most dangerous, oppressive government agency ever, rivaling Russia’s spy agency (can’t think of the name….old age will do that to you). And yes, I am in favor of the FairTax… is the only way to put an end to the IRS’s Mafia style tactics. Folks, we’ve got to stop BO’s agenda….it’s leading us right into the arms of socialism…..America, land of the free, doesn’t want or need that… would destroy our way of living and all of our heritage. Please go to the polls and vote this monster out, along with Reid and Pelosi. Thank you again, Bob Barr, a Great American, for bringing these issues to our attention.


January 18th, 2010
8:58 am

Wait a minute sara, R U saying that the IRS will not freeze the bank accounts of even one of the cronies who promptly ponies up all the monies due as long as their returns aren’t phonied-up?

You’re right, it’s not that difficult.


January 18th, 2010
9:04 am

Welcome to the U.S.S.R……United States Socialist Republic. Vote out all the Democrooks !!


January 18th, 2010
9:08 am

I’m with you, Bob Barr. I want people to be free not to have health insurance so that they can sponge off the people who do when they get sick and need care. What the heck–going to the emergency room at the hospital to get free care and letting the hospitals and doctors sock it to us insureds and the taxpayers to pay for it is what America is all about. I want my health insurance premiums to go up and up to pay for the people who would rather spend their money on new PCs and gadgets and new cars, not on some boondoggle like health insurance. I like things just the way they are. I don’t even mind that one day my health insurance premiums will be half of my income. People need to be free to be irresponsible. If the rest of us want to waste our money on health insurance coverage, it’s our fault.

And I want the Fair Tax, too. As the late, great Leona Helmsley said, only little people pay taxes. Let the low-income people bear most of the burden in the form of sales taxes. It isn’t our fault they have to spend all that they make on necessities. The rest of us ought to be able to sock most of our income away, free of taxation. We’ll give them maybe $100 in tax credit, but it’s time they stepped up and paid the price for the freedom we have. The rest of us are too important to this economy to be taxed on everything we make.


January 18th, 2010
9:28 am

The sad thing is, nobody knows that much about what this health bill will actually entail. I saw and attempted to start reading one of the first versions of the bill that was *ONLY* about 1,000 pages. Talk about confusing and wordy. There hasn’t been an open debate about this, the media are not reporting who will be in charge of what, and it’s all just one big clusterf— of amazing proportions.

Disgusted, to a point I understand where you’re coming from, but if you think things will be better under a Government-run system–run by the same government that gives out no-bid contracts to the private companies in Iraq, and allows the printing of money at-will by a super-secret secret agency (Federal Reserve)–then I fear you’ll find that things actually COULD be worse.

I’m a diabetic temporarily without insurance. I just bought insulin from Canada for a fraction of the price here in America. That doesn’t speak to the efficiency of the actual administering of care under the Canadian System, it just shows that American prices are way too high.

To the degree of the increase in Government power, proportionally, at least the same degree of individual freedom will be lost.


January 18th, 2010
9:29 am

“Welcome to the U.S.S.R……United States Socialist Republic. Vote out all the Democrooks !!”

What about the Republicans? You do not want to vote them out? Why not? They created the Socialist Republic we now have just as much, if not more, than the Democrats. 28 of the last 50 years were “Republican in the White House” years.

Hard Right Hook

January 18th, 2010
9:48 am

Dissolve the IRS! Implement a consumption tax. Liberals love the word “fair.” What could be more fair than a consumption tax?

No IRS. No Charlie “What property in the Carribean” Rangel?


January 18th, 2010
10:03 am

This is to the person named Chris who can recite the Latin names of all the bones in a frog’s body: If you look at all the bones in the body of Mr. Barr and most of the people who responded here to his column, you won’t find one that can be described as “honestus.” They don’t have ‘em. Mr. Barr warns that hordes of IRS employees will have access to your medical records. Of course he knows but doesn’t care who has that access now. Kool-sucking nurses who glance at computer screens and tell you you’re not covered and other thousands of employees of obscenely profitable insurance companies is who. The damn health care system is collapsing. Caving in. And one of the main reasons is that members — and former members, Mr. Barr — refused for years to face up to reality. It’s gotta be fixed. The president’s plan is a step.


January 18th, 2010
10:10 am

Wow . Those are my choices when it comes to healthcare . Wow should I favor the IRS or a for profit monopoly my employer picked out ? America the land of race to the bottom .


January 18th, 2010
10:13 am

This article points out another good reason to get rid of the IRS and replace it with the FairTax!

And in response to the comment from Disgusted: With the FairTax, no one will pay any sales tax on anything until they spend over the poverty level. So, low income people will not “bear most of the burden.” Everyone is treated equally under the FairTax, as long as they are legal residents of the U.S. We will all receive the prebate; we will all pay the same percentage in sales tax; we will all keep our entire paycheck — no federal taxes taken out; and anyone who does not spend past the poverty level will not pay any sales tax on what they buy.


January 18th, 2010
10:23 am

The IRS needs a huge budget because cheating on taxes has become the norm in our decaying society. Cheating–on everything–by corporations and individuals is now standard operating procedure My poor departed parents wouldn’t recognize this country now.


January 18th, 2010
10:23 am


The average profits of health insurance companies last year were under 5%. Is this the obscene profits you refer to?

This administration thinks it has to attack something regardless of the issue. In health care they chose to attack insurance companies with a hugh campaign of disinformation. On the economy, they have chosen banks. They are best when on the attack. Not so good on policy and management.


January 18th, 2010
10:35 am

Lisa – nowhere near as simple to enforce as you make it sound.

Now as to this IRS involvement in healthcare, let’s not have that. Instead if you show up at a medical facility and don’t have your healthcare, you aren’t treated. If you aren’t willing to pay for healthcare, you shouldn’t get it. The government is apparently going to remove any legit obstacle to buying insurance so now it’s up to you as an individual to actually do so.

Jimmy J

January 18th, 2010
10:54 am

I have a contrarian view: Expand the IRS!
My logic is this: I can’t afford to buy health isurance, so I won’t be buying any even if Obama makes me. The IRS will then fine me for no coverage. I won’t pay the fine, so the IRS will throw me in jail – where I’ll get FREE healthcare!!! Long Live the IRS!!!


January 18th, 2010
10:56 am

As someone who has a relative in medical billing I can tell you that healthcare providers profit MUCH more than 5% . When you get an invoice for a checkup or medical procedure it will state would you would pay if you didn’t have insurance & then beside that what your provider paid . In truth maybe your provider paid a quarter of that . Providers NEVER pay what they say they do . Its a total racket . What other industry are you openly allowed lie about what you actually paid for ones services ? Maybe the government isn’t the best option for dealing with healthcare but the total unscrupulousness & lack of integrity the providers have shown makes it disgusting to champion them . I’m starting to think the best option is to just make healthcare insurance illegal . Its gotten to be to big of a burden on free enterprise & entrepreneurship .


January 18th, 2010
10:57 am

With the FairTax, no one will pay any sales tax on anything until they spend over the poverty level. So, low income people will not “bear most of the burden.” Everyone is treated equally under the FairTax, as long as they are legal residents of the U.S. We will all receive the prebate; we will all pay the same percentage in sales tax; we will all keep our entire paycheck — no federal taxes taken out; and anyone who does not spend past the poverty level will not pay any sales tax on what they buy.

So Joe Sixpack makes $40,000 a year, gets the prebate, but still needs to spend every penny he makes on taxable goods and services. Percy Worthington IV makes $1 million a year, gets the prebate, and spends $80,000 on taxable goods and services. Guess which one is getting the shaft on taxation.

And that says nothing about the 30% increase in prices as a result of the consumption tax. How’s old Joe’s $40,000 going to handle that? It’s for sure his income won’t be increasing by 30%.

I’ve heard and read all the sophistry, and the bottom line is still that the flat tax is a regressive tax–it hits lower-income people harder than it hits higher-income people. It exempts huge amounts of the income of the wealthiest among us. And we won’t even talk about the black markets among providers and purchasers that will spring up almost immediately, in the same way that tax shelters have sprung up to benefit the wealthy under the present system.


January 18th, 2010
11:16 am

End the income tax, don’t replace it with anything, slash the federal government to the limited size noted in the constitution, and sell the IRS assets to help pay off the debt.

Simple if people care more about principles than celebrity when they vote.

Union City

January 18th, 2010
11:32 am

Well…I trust the government a whole lot better than I do big business. I know the government will at the end of the day, protect its people.It certainly will cost me something for it though.


January 18th, 2010
11:44 am


Five minutes on Google, or the financial web sites will show the average profits of health insurance companies is under 5%.

Now I have never worked for an insurance company, but I have always had insurance, and have never had a problem. This is why I detest the government attack, and lies about their profitability.

I don’t care if people like them or not. I do care when I hear people repeat Pelosi’s lies about their obscene profits.

Rollo Tomasi

January 18th, 2010
11:58 am

Here is an idea. Everyone just pay 10% of what ever thier income is to the goverment for taxes. No more tax codes or tax shelters or ways to not pay taxes. You make 30K, you pay 3K in taxes. You make 250K, you pay 25K in taxes. And this applies to all income from any source. States make money from sales taxes and a 1% income tax. The goverments learn to run on this amount of money. Or am I just being to ssimplimstic?


January 18th, 2010
11:58 am

This is why you should keep a couple hundred thousand in cash around in case the IRS freezes your accounts tied to the mark of the beast ssn.


January 18th, 2010
12:02 pm

In America all citizens are innocent until proven guilty, unless you are accused of wrong doing under the Internal Revenue Code. In the January 18, 2010 “Barr Code” Bob Barr speaks eloquently about the enormous power of this federal agency, that under the proposed healthcare legislation the IRS gets more powerful and intrusive and that this is another reason to defeat Obama Care. However, Mr. Barr does not go far enough. I agree that this terrible legislation must be defeated but also think that we should repeal the 16th Amendment to the Bill of Rights as well. The whole notion of the progressive income tax is anti-American and one of the 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto. The income tax was introduced into our country by the Woodrow Wilson Administration as in 1913. The income tax was designed to move the United States toward socialism and has been very successful in doing just that. There is an alternative to the income tax that had been introduced into the Congress called the Fait Tax, a simple tax plan that will be revenue neutral and make America an economic powerhouse again. This legislation abolishes the IRS, and that is reason enough to get behind it. The Fair Tax is the answer to many of this country’s economic and social problems and it’s time has come. Get on board!


January 18th, 2010
12:07 pm


January 18th, 2010
12:29 pm

That fair tax sure has it flock.


January 18th, 2010
12:46 pm

Disgusted, neither Joe 6 or P.W. IV will spend every penny he makes on taxable goods and services because with the FairTax, no one starts paying the 23% sales tax until he spends past the poverty level.

And notice I said FairTax and 23% — not flat tax and 30%. It looks like we are talking about two different things. I hope you’ll read about the FAIRTAX at


January 18th, 2010
1:32 pm

Eve Ramsey

January 18th, 2010
1:38 pm

Lisa- right on with the Fair Tax! I have read both books and highly believe it would answer all tax problems. The movers and shakers who provide jobs would not be constantly penalized and demonized for making high profits/income, and could provide more to the economy-IF they so wished!!The people who need more of a “leg up” would receive money each month to cover necessary items to live on. The only taxes paid would be on items we CHOOSE to purchase. I challenge any skeptics to read the short, to the point Fair Tax books to have a true understanding of how it would work. And if you are still skeptic, there are plenty of big government, socialistic countries where you could move and experience real equality!


January 18th, 2010
2:32 pm

All well and good to find another reason why you don’t like the Dems health care “reform”.

However, the health care problem grew over many years which included years of Republican control of the house, senate, and White House. They did NOTHING. Yep, that’s right: NOTHING. They didn’t even get tort reform in the years when they controlled house, senate, and White House!!!!

Now that there is someone doing something, the most the Publs have contributed is to “just say no” to just about anything the Dems propose.

Health care costs are killing business and jobs: costs more than doubled while median incomes declined. Lack of health insurane is killing people. The US is no longer first in measures of the health of its people. We have a broken system, folks.

I would rather have the something frow the Dems than the nothing the Pubs have given.


January 18th, 2010
3:19 pm

“Take two aspirin…”

TWO aspirin? U must have 1 of those Cadillac plans, man.

January 18th, 2010
10:32 pm

I help people fight the IRS everyday, and I can tell you that the IRS has major training, hiring, technological and infrastructure issues; they really do not need to be taking on any more work.

Hard Right Hook

January 19th, 2010
8:07 am


January 18th, 2010
10:56 am
“As someone who has a relative in medical billing I can tell you that healthcare providers profit MUCH more than 5%…………..”

You need to go on-line and read an annual report from a publicly held insurance company. They may make more than 5% on a given procedure, but at the end of the accounting year, which is what is important, the corporation as a whole makes a nickel on every dollar of revenue. That’s 5% profit. Would you run a business with that margin?

I thought not.


January 19th, 2010
9:13 am

Hard Right Hook

I’m lying to everyone of my customers about every doctors visit or procedure I have contracted so I can make 5 percent profit ? LOL !! No I wouldn’t run a business like that . Does it matter what your balance sheet says when you fudge all of your expenses ? Why spend money on marketing & advertising when you are futility only going to make 5% . Why pay your CEO several million dollars when you are only going to make 5 % ? Why have claims managers that are bonused on not paying claims so you can only make 5% profit ? I understand why people think that the government shouldn’t play a role in healthcare but naturally neither should a shareholder . There has to be a happy medium . If not lets just outlaw health insurance . That would atleast bring down prices .


January 19th, 2010
10:20 am



January 19th, 2010
10:36 am

If d-bags like bob had it his way, there would be no police force, no fire department, and no public schools.

The fact is we get extraordinary services for the small amount of tax dollars we pay. Stop your whining.


January 19th, 2010
11:33 am

This should be read and understood by all Americans
Democrats, Republicans, EVERYONE!

To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature,

It is now official you are ALL corrupt morons:
 The U.S.. Post Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke.
 Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.
 Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke.
 War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to “the poor” and they only want more.
 Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.
 Freddie Mac was established in 1970. You have had 39 years to get it right and it is broke.
 The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. You had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure.

You have FAILED in every “government service” you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars



January 19th, 2010
11:41 am

Most of you neocons have to quit drinking at the trough of Glenn & Rush! Those two, and others like them, serve the same purpose for the Republicans that Goebbels did for Hitler’s Nazi Party. You all talk about “socialism” as if you had any idea of what it is. I have lived in a foreign country with “socialized” medicine, and I can tell you that it beats our system any day of week and twice on Sunday! There are some things about which we have to be apolitical and think about what is best for our entire country and citizenry. Stop banging your bibles, maybe, and start acting accordingly! You are against everything that would be better for you and everyone else because of what those Fox News fools are spewing. Read more on all lissues from all sides and learn to think independently.


January 19th, 2010
12:27 pm

Some people wear pajamas if only they knew it.


January 19th, 2010
1:02 pm

Marilyn, please feel free to move, the sooner the better. I will pay your 1 way flight as long as you don’t come back.


January 19th, 2010
1:29 pm

Brown is leading in Massachusetts!!! Maybe no Obamacare after all!!! Yahooooo!


January 19th, 2010
1:43 pm

All you Fairtax lemmings – if the IRS doesn’t exist, who will make sure businesses turn over the correct amount of Fairtax to the government? The individual states? Laughable. Most state taxation departments can’t get out of their own way. Quit kidding yourselves, there will ALWAYS be a federal enforcement arm around, because it doesn’t matter what the system is called, greedy people will try to cheat it.

And Sara is right. You have to REPEATEDLY ignore the IRS before they will consider freezing a bank account. And before they do, they will send you MULTIPLE certified notices of their intent, and offer plenty of opportunity to contest it. You folks need to quit listening to the scammers on the TV commercials.


January 19th, 2010
1:58 pm

Hey Grumpy, go read at, you might learn something. And what kind of lemming are you, do you think it takes 70,000 pages of tax code to be fair? NOT, so you must be heading over the cliff if you like what we have and believe it is fair…

Swede Atlanta

January 19th, 2010
2:50 pm

Ref: Hard Right Hook @ 09:48 and Zeke @ 10:20

HRH – You suggest that a flat consumption tax is fair. It is fair only in so much as everyone’s consumption is taxed at the same rate. But it is highly regressive if you look at how it would affect people at different income levels. Let’s take a person making $30,000 a year. He consumes everything just to pay for housing, food, gas, etc. So he is taxed on his entire income. Compare that to someone making $250,000 who is prudent and even though he does afford himself a nice house, better food, vacations, etc., he only uses $150,000 of his income. So he is taxed on 60% of his income. The other 40% he can save, invest, etc.

Let’s assume a consumption tax is 20% -
The effective tax rate on the guy making $30,000 is 20%
The effective tax rate on the guy making $250,000 is 12%

In my book that is not fair.

Zeke @ 10:20
All the departments you name are constitutional
- IRS – Congress has the power to raise and collect taxes. There must be some means of collecting the taxes even if you had a consumption tax.
- Dept of Education/EPA fall under the broad definition of “providing for the general welfare”
- Dept of Justice – President’s duties include ensuring the laws are faithfully executed (whether or not you think they are or are not being executed is another matter)

I’m not saying there couldn’t be improvements in the way agencies are run, finding economies of scale, etc. but to suggest these are unconstitutional is an opinion that has never been agreed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, under the early precedent of Marbury v. Madison, established that they determine what is Constitutional and what is not.

Swede Atlanta

January 19th, 2010
2:58 pm

Ref William @ 1:29

ROFL………. No one is leading in Massachussetts because no precinct is reporting yet. Normally under state law no precinct reports are released until the polls close in order to prevent reports from affecting turnout or votes.

You may be getting reports from exit polls but we have learned how reliable they are. I suggest you let the people in Massachussetts vote.


January 19th, 2010
3:28 pm

This Administration and the Democrats have had a hissy fit over Gitmo and the rights of terrorists, yet they have no aversion whatsoever to allowing the IRS to trample the rights of American Taxpayers by giving them more authority. A terrorists with a bomb in his underwear has more protection afforded him to safeguard what they’ve determined to be his “rights” by the Obama Administration than we taxpayers. What’s wrong with this scenario? This Administration and the Democrats are willing to spend $250 million of our tax monies to bring an admitted and confessed terrorist from Gitmo in order to try him in New York City because they argue he has “legal rights” yet the IRS goes about its business of seizing assets without due process and this group of Civil Libertarians rather than thwart them gives them more power and authority? Trample us but protect the terrorists. God help us all!!!

Is the world spinning off its axis? Is up down and down up?