Republicans assail IRS provision in health care bill

House Ways and Means Republicans on Thursday assailed a provision in the proposed health care reform bill under consideration this week. 

Subcommittee on Oversight ranking member Charles Boustany (R-La.) said the IRS provision in the bill "dangerously expands, in an ominous way the tentacles of the IRS and it's reach into every American family," he said today during a press conference. Republicans estimate the IRS will need nearly 17,000 new employees to meet its new responsibilities under health reform.

"This is a vast expanse of power," he said. 

Boustany said the bill would allow the IRS to confiscate refunds if there are penalties for not buying health care. 

Lawmakers have questioned whether the IRS can handle the increased workload to oversee, administer and collect penalties for people who don't buy health insurance. 

"This is increasing tax liability and tax scrutiny," said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.).

Ranking member Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said many Americans have already rejected the call for health care reform for other reasons and an expansion of the IRS should only add to call to "kill the bill."

Taxpayers could be required to buy insurance under President Barack Obama’s reform proposal by 2014 or face penalties of roughly $325 per individual that the IRS would collect.

Assuming it becomes law, the Congressional Budget Office expects the IRS will need roughly $10 billion over the next 10 years .

"We're going to fight to the end to see that this does not pass," Boustany said.