IRS Health Care Exec at Center of Scandal

IRS Health Care Exec at Center of Scandal

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The Internal Revenue Service official who was in charge of the division that targeted Tea Party groups is now in charge of the IRS’ office tasked with implementing major provisions of  President Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act. .
Between 2009 and 2012, Sarah Hall Ingram was the commissioner of the agency’s division responsible for tax-exempt organizations. She was in charge while the unit was inappropriately targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups that were applying  for tax-exempt status,  according to a Treasury inspector general report released on Tuesday.  Ingram’s replacement, Joseph Grant, her deputy commissioner at the time of the wrong-doings,   apparently has  taken the fall for Ingram and will be leaving the agency.
Meanwhile, Ingram is now the director of the IRS Affordable Care Act office, which will be responsible for overseeing the tax credits and tax increases in the law, and—most critically—ensuring that businesses and individuals comply with the individual mandate and other major provisions.

This could pose major problems for Obamacare, as the IRS has a starring role in its implementation.             -  Read more at ABC

GSA OWES SMALL BUSINESSES  $3 MILLION The General Services Administration has failed to fully pay about 1,334 small contractors for services, short-changing them by more than $3 million since 2008, according to a report released Thursday by the House Small Business Committee. “Because of policy dating back several years and several administrations, some businesses were not compensated because they had to request the guaranteed minimum payment to GSA,” Betsaida Alcantara, the agency’s communications director, told The Washington Post. “Under new leadership, GSA is changing its policy and will no longer require eligible small businesses to request these payments.” GSA plans to pay the debts dating to 2007. Read more at The Washington Post

GSA HIT ON EXCESSIVE CASH  BONUSES     More  bad press for the GSA, which oversees the government’s office space and purchases. Senior executives there  were awarded cash bonuses that were not properly vetted and given out for questionable reasons, a new report released Thursday by the agency’s  Inspector General shows. The bonuses cost taxpayers $160,000 between fiscal 2009 and 2011. The report said the GSA’s awarding system lacked transparency and the agency hid some of its practices from the Office of Personnel Management.  -  Read the report here

THE COUNTRY’S MOST EXPENSIVE HOSPITAL According to government data released last week, Bayonne Medical Center in New Jersey charges the highest amounts in the country for nearly one-quarter of the most common hospital treatments. For example, Bayonne Medical typically charged $99,689 for treating each case of chronic lung disease, five times as much as other hospitals and 17 times as much as Medicare paid in reimbursement. The quality of care at Bayonne Medical, meanwhile, is no better — or worse — than most other New Jersey hospitals. In a 2011 state hospital quality report, Bayonne Medical scored only in the top 50 percent. -  Read more at The New York Times

IRS SCANDAL  SHAKE-UP      President Obama on Thursday replaced ousted IRS acting commissioner Steven Miller with Danny Werfel, the Office of Management and Budget’s controller. Werfel will take over on May 22. Shortly after the announcement of Miller’s replacement was announced, a second senior  official, Joseph Grant, notified the agency that he would be  departing amid the ongoing controversy. Grant, commissioner of the agency's tax exempt and government entities division,  which targeted Tea Party groups for additional scrutiny, will retire June 3. -  Read more at The Fiscal Times

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.