GOP links ObamaCare, IRS scandal in address

House Republicans on Saturday touted their recent vote to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, tying it to the unfolding IRS scandal and a member of President Obama’s cabinet under fire for fundraising.

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Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) used the Republican weekly address to highlight a report released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week that found insurance premium rates for people under ObamaCare may increase in many states.

“Instead of the lower costs you were promised, you could pay a whole lot more,” said Harris. “According to new data from the nation’s insurers, under ObamaCare, premiums in the individual market will skyrocket by an average of double what we pay now, with some rates rising by more than 400 percent.”

The report found that premiums for people in about 45 states could increase by about 100 percent on average, according to 17 insurance companies that responded to questions from the committee.

Harris decried the new healthcare law by suggesting that it would be mismanaged by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The IRS confirmed this week that it applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. And Republicans have begun to hold a series of hearings to determine whether the Obama administration had a role in the emerging scandal.

“Now, just think about the fact that it’s the IRS that will be responsible for enforcing many of these regulations,” Harris said in this week’s GOP address.

“If we’ve learned anything this week, it’s that the IRS needs less power, not more.”

Harris pointed to Sarah Hall Ingram, the director of the Affordable Care Act’s office within the IRS. Ingram previously served as the head of the office in charge of facilitating applications from tax-exempt groups at the IRS during the time that has recently come under question.

“As a matter of fact, it turns out that the IRS official who oversaw the operation that’s under scrutiny for targeting conservatives is now in charge of the IRS’s ObamaCare office,” said Harris. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

Under the law's requirements, the IRS is set to be in charge of levying possible fines against people who fail to meet the new insurance mandate. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the law is constitutional, and that imposing fines for failing to buy health insurance is acceptable when considered as a tax.

Harris further slammed the new healthcare law by suggesting that it would be mismanaged by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who came under fire this week for soliciting private donations from healthcare executives and community groups to implement ObamaCare.

“Of course, there are powerful interests who will do all they can to prop up ObamaCare,” said Harris.

“We learned last week that the Secretary of Health and Human Services has been pushing private companies — businesses she herself regulates — to help pay for the implementation of ObamaCare.

“This raises all kinds of legal and ethical questions and I assure you we will get those answers, because right now we need more accountability in Washington, and a government that works for you, not the other way around.”

The administration and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have adamantly defended Sebelius, saying that her actions were clearly authorized under the law and a result of fiscal constraints imposed by Congress.

The House voted to repeal ObamaCare on Thursday for the third time since Republicans took control of the chamber in 2011.

Two Democrats — Reps. Jim Matheson (Utah) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.). — sided with Republicans in the party-line vote, 229-195, while every Republican voted in favor of repeal.

It marks the 37th time the House GOP has voted to repeal or defund at least part of the bill, but this latest bill will also not become law given Democrats' control of the Senate.