Because no Scandal Week would be complete without some good, old-fashioned tilting at the windmill of Obamacare, the House today voted (again) to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Now, it's time for the Senate to ignore the bill, passed more-or-less down the party line at 229-195, until the House GOP decides to try again. Which, of course, they've promised to do.
This time, as we noted yesterday, repeal supporters had a new(ish) reason to claim that they're fighting a giant: the IRS, arguably one of the most vulnerable political targets in the federal government this week, is responsible for tracking 47 different provisions under the ACA. As expected, repeal bill sponsor Michele Bachmann led the charge on the IRS-Obamacare connection. Here's what she said at a Thursday morning press conference (via MinnPost), standing with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee:
“This is extremely troubling, because the axiom is, the power to tax is the power to destroy...Knowing that the IRS will the enforcing mechanism for [the Affordable Care Act], it’s very important to ask: Could there potentially be political implications regarding health care — access to health care, denial of health care — will that happen based upon a person’s political beliefs or their religiously-held beliefs? These questions would have been considered out of bounds a week ago, but today these questions are considered more than reasonable and more than fair for the American people.”
While Bachmann has taken care here to frame her questions about the law as if they're newly raised by this week's scandal at the IRS, the notion that Obamacare is a potential killer is reminiscent of Sarah Palin's 2009 assertion that Obamacare would force her to bring her disabled child in front of an "Obama 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide...whether they are worthy of health care." The 'death panel,' a popular conservative mischaracterization of the ACA's Independent Payment Advisory Board (a mischaracterization that, as the Columbia Journalism Review notes, is still alive and with us today), now apparently has a Obamacare-opposing companion in the IRS.