KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Political Battles Congeal Around IRS Scandals, Implementation Questions

The Associated Press reports that the funding sought by the Obama administration for the Internal Revenue Service's health law activities could be in jeopardy as a result of recent scandals. Meanwhile, The Hill reports that GOP lawmakers are developing plans for handling constituents' questions about the health law.  

The Associated Press: IRS Scandals Threaten Funding For Health Care Law
Mounting scandals at the Internal Revenue Service are jeopardizing critical funding for the agency as it gears up to play a big role in President Barack Obama's health care law. Obama sought a significant budget increase for the IRS for next year, when the agency will start doling out subsidies to help people buy health insurance on state-based exchanges. Congressional Republicans, however, see management problems at the IRS as an opportunity to limit the agency's funding just as it is trying to put in place the massive new law (Ohlemacher, 6/15).

The Hill: GOP To Constituents: Questions On ObamaCare? Call Obama
Republican lawmakers say they anticipate a flood of questions in the coming months from constituents on the implementation of ObamaCare, which will pose a dilemma for the GOP. People regularly call their representatives for help with Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. ... Some Republicans indicated to The Hill they will not assist constituents in navigating the law and obtaining benefits. Others said they would tell people to call the Department of Health and Human Services (Viebeck, 6/17).

In other news, Senate Democrats in some "red" states are not stepping back from the overhaul -

The Associated Press: 2014 Senate Democrats Firm Up Health Care Support
Far from reversing course, Senate Democrats who backed President Barack Obama's health care law and now face re-election in GOP-leaning states are firming up their support for the overhaul even as Republican criticism intensifies. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina will face voters in 2014 for the first time since voting for the Affordable Care Act — also known as "Obamacare" — three years ago. They aren't apologizing for their vote, and several are pursuing an aggressive strategy: Embrace the law, help voters use it and fix what doesn't work (Barrow, 6/15).

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