Remember one of many big lies Republicans came up with to scare Americans about the Affordable Care Act, the one where the IRS would need 16,000 new agents
to enforce health reform? Newt Gingrich pushed it, and Rep. Paul Ryan jumped on board saying that the IRS would get "16,000 agents to police this new mandate."
It was, of course, patently untrue. But apparently the GOP liked the idea of IRS agents policing Americans' healthcare decision so much they decided to adopt it as their own, but of course just apply it to women, and to abortion. Among the horrors of H.R. 3, the bill that redefined rape to only count if it was "forcible" (until enough people raised enough hell, they decided to drop it), is the degree to which abortion restrictions extend to private—not public—spending. A refresher from David Waldman.
In H.R. 3, Republicans revive the mid-90s "Istook amendment" theory of the fungibility of money to include under their definition of "taxpayer funding for abortion" all tax deductions, credits or other benefits for the cost of health insurance, when that insurance includes under its plan coverage for abortion.
So if a company provides health care benefits for its employees, and the plan they pay for includes coverage for abortion, the company becomes ineligible for the normal federal tax deductions and credits that are the usual reward for providing benefits. That's a gigantic tax increase. If you pay for your own coverage directly, no deductions, credits, etc. for you, either, if the plan you select offers abortion coverage. Whether you or someone on your plan ever gets one or not. All deductions associated with your health care costs are disallowed.
That, apparently, will impact approximately 87 percent of private insurance plans on the market today.
This isn't a theoretical possibility of the bill, it's a real one that the Joint Tax Committee says the IRS would have to enforce.
Under a GOP-backed bill expected to sail through the House of Representatives, the Internal Revenue Service would be forced to police how Americans have paid for their abortions. To ensure that taxpayers complied with the law, IRS agents would have to investigate whether certain terminated pregnancies were the result of rape or incest. And one tax expert says that the measure could even lead to questions on tax forms: Have you had an abortion? Did you keep your receipt?
In testimony to a House taxation subcommittee on Wednesday, Thomas Barthold, the chief of staff of the nonpartisan Joint Tax Committee, confirmed that one consequence of the Republicans' "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" would be to turn IRS agents into abortion cops—that is, during an audit, they'd have to determine, from evidence provided by the taxpayer, whether any tax benefit had been inappropriately used to pay for an abortion....
"Were this to become law, people could end up in an audit, the subject of which could be abortion, rape, and incest," says Christopher Bergin, the head of Tax Analysts, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit tax policy group. "If you pass the law like this, the IRS would be required to enforce it."
The proposal, which House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has declared a top priority of the new Republican Congress, has 221 cosponsors and is expected to pass the House easily....
...Under standard audit procedure, a woman would have to provide evidence to corroborate facts about abortions, rapes, and cases of incest, says Marcus Owens, an accountant and former longtime IRS official. If a taxpayer received a deduction or tax credit for abortion costs related to a case of rape or incest, or because her life was endangered, then "on audit [she] would have to demonstrate or prove, ideally by contemporaneous written documentation, that it was incest, or rape, or [her] life was in danger," Owens says. "It would be fairly intrusive for the woman."
That's not too intrusive for Republicans, since it's only girls that would be effected. They certainly don't count. If anybody should be screaming about IRS agents intruding into private lives, it should be the Dems. And it's more than ample provocation for President Obama to bring out the veto threat.