Tired of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare or whatever you want to call the health care reform law?
We're going to be hearing about it all the way up to the Nov. 4, 2014, election day.
Republicans are firing all they've got at the ACA.
The latest big news is the official House Republican playbook that lists ways the party hopes to discredit Obamacare.
The playbook focuses on ways to highlight Obamacare problems. Key targets are federal health care exchange's online insurance enrollment problems, as well as the loss of coverage by some individuals.
The GOP continues to say its ultimate goal is to repeal the health care law.
But the realistic goal of the outlined plays -- talking points, video suggestions, social media tips, fact sheets, old-media op-ed columns and a "one-stop shop on Obamacare [at] www.gop.gov/healthcare" -- is to win more Republican Congressional seats in the coming midyear election.
To that end, the playbook enlists the help of GOP-controlled House committees that have held investigations into the health care law and its implementation problems.
House Ways and Means (W&M) members are among the "coaches" helping shape the anti-Obamacare game plan.
Among the talking points provided courtesy of the tax-writing committee is one highlighting tax increases:
The head of the W&M committee also is doing his part as an offensive coordinator, making follow-up requests for ACA information from the Internal Revenue Service and Health and Human Services.
W&M tax credit letter to IRS: On Nov. 5, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) wrote IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel asking for data on the agency's determination of eligibility for those seeking premium tax credits via the health care exchanges.
Camp's letter was prompted by Werfel's comments at a recent tax conference where he said the IRS had received 1.3 million requests and acted on more than 300,000 requests to determine eligibility for the health care related tax credits.
Camp asked Werfel to turn over state-by-state data on the number of applicants the IRS has reviewed. The chairman set a Nov. 12 deadline for Werfel's response.
I'm presuming Werfel complied since Camp hasn't issued a follow-up statement chiding the acting IRS chief. I couldn't find, however, the response on either the IRS or Ways and Means websites.
W&M income subsidy letter to HHS: Then on Nov. 20, Camp wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with questions about reported health care exchange problems with taxpayer income verification.
By miscalculating taxpayer eligibility for federal tax credits, says Camp, the exchanges are misleading consumers as to how much their plans will cost.
"If the tax credit and cost sharing eligibility mistakes are not discovered, many individuals will receive credits and subsidies for which they are not eligible," Camp writes. "Once reconciled with their tax filing, most of these individuals will be surprised to learn they are required to pay back the mistaken subsidy."
Camp wants Sebelius' answers by Nov. 27.
Tax season delay, too: The IRS and HHS letters are just the latest salvos on the ACA by the W&M chair.
Once the federal government shutdown was resolved, Camp sent Werfel a letter accusing the IRS of keeping employees who work on ACA issues on the job instead of those making preparations for the upcoming filing season.
That Obamacare related decision, Camp says, is the real reason why the 2014 filing season will be delayed.
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