IRS Union: Don't Put Tax Collectors Into Obamacare's Health Exchanges!


credit: alykat / Foter / CC BY-NC

The Internal Revenue Service is responsible for enforcing multiple provisions in Obamacare, including a slew of revenue-raising taxes and fees, the individual mandate, and the disbursement of insurance subsidies for insurance purchased through the exchanges. But an almost too-obvious ironic twist, its employees don't want to buy insurance through those exchanges themselves. The National Treasury Employees Union, a labor group that represents IRS workers, has set up a form letter for union members to send to their congressional representatives urging legislators not to pass legislation proposed by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Michigan) that could shift tax workers out of their current federal benefits and into the exchanges. 

The best case you can make here is the one that's been made with regard to congressional staffers, who have also voiced complaints about a requirement in the health law that could shift them out of their federal benefits and into the exchanges. Their argument is that it's unfair to create a special class of workers who have to drop their current, employer-provided insurance and go through the exchanges. 

Even framed this way, however, this does not exactly inspire great confidence in the law. How appealing can it be if the government workers charged with managing many of its operations are so worried about having to participate in its key feature? And what about the 7-8 million individuals the Congressional Budget Office expects will be shifted out of their current, employer-provided health coverage as a result of the law? If it is concerning that IRS workers might lose their employer-tied insurance and be moved into Obamacare's exchanges, then surely it is also concerning that those other individuals, most of whom do not work for the IRS, would end up making a similar transition. 

But that's not what you're hearing from the IRS union, which is only concerned with itself. The revenue agency's workers are happy enough to enforce the law's provisions on others, but worried enough about having to participate in its biggest component that they are organizing complaints against the very possibility of being required to do so.

One obvious solution (though I am certain the law's supporters won't embrace it) would be to eliminate all requirements for anyone to participate in any part of the law by repealing it entirely. But if the law is to go forward, then federal workers should be required to participate in it whenever possible, even, and perhaps especially, if it is an inconvenience. 

(H/T Joel Gerhke at The Washington Examiner.)