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May 17 2013

Is It Safe to Share Your Health Details with the IRS?

Charlotte Hays

Do you trust Sarah Hall Ingram with the details of your health insurance?

Sarah Hall Ingram is the IRS executive who has been promoted to the position of director of the agency’s ObamaCare program. Yep, she’s going to know a lot about you.

Since her last assignment was running the nosey tax exempt division of the IRS—you know the one that spied on the tea party and other conservative-leaning groups—I am edgy about giving her what would once have been considered private information.

I was never thrilled at the prospect of giving the folks at the IRS my health information, but the recent scandal convinces me that it’s really, really not a good idea to trust these people. As a member of the House said yesterday when that body voted to repeal ObamaCare:

“Obamacare empowers the agency that just violated the public’s trust by secretly targeting conservative groups,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., added. “Even by Washington’s standards, that’s unacceptable.”

Washington standards, of course, have everything to do with who is in the White House. President Obama is saying that he had nothing to do with the IRS scandal. But he does. As Kimberley Strassal explains in today’s Wall Street Journal, the president is claiming that he’s innocent because he never explicitly told anybody to spy on conservative groups:

But that's not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn't need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he'd like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.

Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do. "He put a target on our backs, and he's now going to blame the people who are shooting at us?" asks Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot.

Mr. VanderSloot racked up $80,000 in legal bills after publicly supporting Mitt Romney and being subjected to a subsequent audit. So—yeah—we should be afraid—very afraid—of turning our health information over to the IRS. Such information could be dynamite in the hands of an IRS that reportedly leaked information about conservative organizations to a liberal media outlet.

Just one interesting tidbit, Ms. Ingram made out like a bandit during the years she presided over the tax exempt division. Mark Tapscott reports on her bonuses, which totaled $100,000 between 2009 and 2012, which covers the time her office was spying on conservative organizations:

Ingram received a $7,000 bonus in 2009, according to data obtained by The Washington Examiner from the IRS, then a $34,440 bonus in 2010, $35,400 in 2011 and $26,550 last year, for a total of $103,390. Her annual salary went from $172,500 to $177,000 during the same period.

The 2010, 2011 and 2012 bonuses were awarded during the period when IRS harrassment of the conservative groups was most intense. The newspaper obtained the data via a Freedom of Information

Ingram has some history as a government lawyer receiving controversial bonuses. According to The Washington Post, she received a $47,900 bonus for distinguished service in 2004 from President George W. Bush.

Earlier Thursday, The Washington Examiner reported that the IRS paid out more than $92 million in bonuses during the four-year period of Ingram's awards to her and nearly 17,000 other agency employees. Those bonuses averaged more than $5,500 per employee.

Kinda makes you want somebody to take an unpaid furlough, doesn’t it?

Also, if they’re on furlough, they can’t be spying on ordinary citizens.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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