U.S. tax agency backs off tougher planned Obamacare oversight

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By Washington Newsroom

<span class="articleLocation”>The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said on
Wednesday it will not reject tax filings that do not indicate
whether the taxpayer had health coverage or paid a penalty set
under Obamacare, setting aside a tougher planned oversight of
the health law.

Republican President Donald Trump, who has pledged to
dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act, signed an order on Jan.
20, his first day in office, to freeze regulations and take
other steps to weaken the law, which is known as Obamacare.

Republicans, who have the majority in Congress, are trying
to craft a replacement for the law enacted by former Democratic
president Barack Obama.

Twenty million Americans gained health insurance under the
law, whose so-called individual mandate requires Americans to
carry health insurance or face a penalty.

The IRS said in a statement that in recent years, tax
returns that did not include information about health coverage
were processed.

That was set to change for the 2016 tax year and system
changes had been put in place to reject returns lacking that
information, but the agency now will continue processing returns
as in previous years, it said.

Citing Trump’s executive order, the statement said the IRS
would continue to allow electronic and paper returns to be
accepted for processing “in instances where a taxpayer doesn’t
indicate their coverage status.”

“Processing silent returns means that taxpayer returns are
not systemically rejected, allowing them to be processed and
minimizing burden on taxpayers, including those expecting a
refund,” it said.

Republicans have opposed Obamacare as federal overreach and
Tom Price, a vocal opponent of Obamacare, was sworn in last week
as U.S. secretary of health.

Price, a member of the House of Representatives since 2005
who chaired the budget committee, offered legislation in 2015 to
repeal Obamacare and replace it with age-adjusted tax credits
for the purchase of health insurance.

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