IG: Obamacare’s Medical Device Tax Not Bringing In As Much Cash As Expected

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Sarah Hurtubise

Obamacare’s controversial medical device tax isn’t bringing in nearly as much cash as expected, according to a federal report issued Tuesday.

The Treasury inspector general for tax administration found that the number of filings for the medical device excise tax, instituted as part of the Affordable Care Act, is already lower than expected — and so is the resulting revenue. The was supposed to bring in $1.2 billion for the first two quarters of 2013, but the federal government only collected $913 million.

The Internal Revenue Service still doesn’t have the ability to identify the medical device manufacturers that are actually required to submit the proper forms and pay the excise tax.

Even for the companies that have paid the tax so far, the IRS doesn’t have the proper processing systems to make sure the amount of tax paid is correct. The IG report found discrepancies in the amount of excise tax paid in 276 out of 5,107 medical device tax forms it examined — resulting in a $117.8 million discrepancy between the amount of tax collected and the amount auditors expected.

Not to mention, the IRS incorrectly charged companies late penalties 219 times, to the tune of $706,753. They corrected 133 of the overcharges, but didn’t reverse the remaining penalties until the IG office reminded the agency of its failure.

“While the IRS has taken steps to educate medical device manufacturers of the medical device tax during implementation, it faces challenges to definitively identify manufacturers subject to the medical device excise tax reporting and payment requirements,” said J. Russell George, the treasury inspector general for tax administration.

The medical device tax was included in Obamacare to help finance the health care law’s more expensive provisions, but critics immediately took aim at the excise tax for increasing health care costs and costing jobs. A February report from trade group Advanced Medical Technology Association concluded that the tax has already cost 33,000 jobs in the medical device industry from both layoffs and a lack of new hires, and predicted that it would kill another 132,000 in the future. (RELATED: Health Industry Group: Yes We’ve Suffered Massive Obamacare Job Losses)

The medical device tax is just one of many included in the health care law. It’s supposed to bring in $20 billion by 2019, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation; the federal government expects to collect $438 in Obamacare taxes by 2019, all told.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/19/ig-obamacares-medical-device-tax-not-bringing-in-as-much-cash-as-expected/#ixzz3AtFunAzW

NYTIMES REPORTER: OBAMA ‘GREATEST ENEMY TO PRESS FREEDOM IN A GENERATION’

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James Risen: “A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin.”

Jamie Weinstein
Senior Editor

President Barack Obama is no friend of press freedom, says a New York Times reporter who may be sent to jail for refusing to reveal a source.

“A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin,” reporter James Risen told his own paper in a profile about his plight published Saturday. “They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistle-blowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.” (RELATED: NYT reporter: Obama administration ‘the greatest enemy of press freedom’ in a generation)

Risen’s troubles stem from the 2006 publication of his book “State of War,” which included classified information about a failed CIA plot against Iran’s nuclear program. In 2008, George W. Bush’s Department of Justice subpoenaed Risen to reveal the source of the classified information. Citing his role as a journalist, Risen refused to comply, fighting the subpoena until it expired in 2009.

But the Obama administration renewed the subpoena in 2010. After many more years of legal fisticuffs, the Supreme Court announced in June that it would not take Risen’s appeal, leaving Risen out of legal options. Now Risen faces the specter of jail time if the Justice Department continues to insist that he reveal his source for the classified information.

“Though the court’s decision looked like a major victory for the government, it has forced the Obama administration to confront a hard choice,” the New York Times reported in June in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling. “Should it demand Mr. Risen’s testimony and be responsible for a reporter’s being sent to jail? Or reverse course and stand down, losing credibility with an intelligence community that has pushed for the aggressive prosecution of leaks?”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/17/nytimes-reporter-obama-greatest-enemy-to-press-freedom-in-a-generation/#ixzz3AgOKGRS6

IRS Tech Said Lerner’s Hard Drive WASN’T Damaged

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Judge Demands Answers After IRS Contradicts Sworn Testimony on Lerner’s Scratched Hard Drive

Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan Thursday ordered the Internal Revenue Service to come up with new answers after IRS employees contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lois Lerner’s hard drive.

Sullivan ruled that “the IRS is hereby ORDERED to file a sworn Declaration, by an official with the authority to speak under oath for the Agency, by no later than August 22, 2014″ on four issues: the IRS’ attempted recovery of Lerner’s lost emails after her computer allegedly crashed, bar codes that could have been on the hard drive, IRS policies on hard drive destruction, and information about an outside vendor who worked on IRS hard drives.

Recent documents from nonprofit group Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the IRS, which Sullivan is presiding over, showed that IRS technology officials contradicted sworn testimony about damage to Lerner’s hard drive.

Aaron Signor, an IRS technician that looked at Lerner’s hard drive in June 2011, said in IRS court filings that he saw no damage to the drive before sending it off to another IRS technician, leading some in the media to suggest that the lost emails scandal is basically over. But Signor’s statement, issued in response to the Judicial Watch lawsuit, does not jibe with sworn congressional testimony.

The Daily Caller reported that Lerner’s hard drive was “scratched” and then “shredded,” according to a court filing the IRS made to the House Committee on Ways and Means. (RELATED: How To Destroy A Hard Drive: IRS Edition)

The IRS technology official who served as the source of the “scratched” and “shredded” revelation is believed to have looked at the hard drive after Signor.

Sullivan’s order seems to have been motivated by the obvious contradiction. Judicial Watch said that Sullivan made the order because the IRS’ new court filing featuring Signor’s statement was a “joke.”

“In an extraordinary step, U. S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan has launched an independent inquiry into the issue of the missing emails associated with former IRS official Lois Lerner,” Judicial Watch said in a statement. “Previously, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS to produce sworn declarations about the IRS email issue by August 11. Today’s order confirms Judicial Watch’s read of this week’s IRS’ filings that treated as a joke Judge Sullivan’s order.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/15/judge-demands-anwers-after-irs-contradicts-sworn-testimony-on-lerners-scratched-hard-drive/#ixzz3ATzAGugL

OBAMA OFFICIAL DELETED OBAMACARE EMAILS SOUGHT BY CONGRESS

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Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services deleted some of her emails

Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

The administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) deleted some of her emails and may not be able to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the flawed Obamacare rollout, CMS has warned Congress.

Marilyn Tavenner, who was appointed by President Obama to take over CMS within the Department of Health and human Services in 2013 — prior to the Obamacare rollout — deleted some of her emails and did not save hard copies as the Federal Records Act requires her to do, MSNBC reported Thursday.

Though Tavenner’s computer did not crash like ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer allegedly did, Tavenner may be unable to cooperate with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenas.

“During her entire tenure at CMS, Ms. Tavenner’s CMS email address, which is accessible to both colleagues and the public, has been subject to write-in campaigns involving thousands of emails from the public,” according to a letter CMS sent Wednesday to the National Archives and Records Administration. “Therefore, she receives an extremely high volume of emails that she manages daily. To keep an orderly email box and to stay within the agency’s email system capacity limits, the Administrator generally copied or forwarded emails to immediate staff for retention and retrieval, and did not maintain her own copies.”

CMS noted that this practice of not keeping emails “continued until November 2013,” just one month after the Obamacare website launched.

“It is possible that some emails may not be available to HHS,” the letter stated.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/07/obama-official-deleted-obamacare-emails-sought-by-congress/#ixzz3A8BGXosj

Obama Official Deleted Obamacare Emails Sought By Congress

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Patrick Howley

The administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) deleted some of her emails and may not be able to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the flawed Obamacare rollout, CMS has warned Congress.

Marilyn Tavenner, who was appointed by President Obama to take over CMS within the Department of Health and human Services in 2013 — prior to the Obamacare rollout — deleted some of her emails and did not save hard copies as the Federal Records Act requires her to do, MSNBC reported Thursday.

Though Tavenner’s computer did not crash like ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer allegedly did, Tavenner may be unable to cooperate with House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenas.

“During her entire tenure at CMS, Ms. Tavenner’s CMS email address, which is accessible to both colleagues and the public, has been subject to write-in campaigns involving thousands of emails from the public,” according to a letter CMS sent Wednesday to the National Archives and Records Administration. “Therefore, she receives an extremely high volume of emails that she manages daily. To keep an orderly email box and to stay within the agency’s email system capacity limits, the Administrator generally copied or forwarded emails to immediate staff for retention and retrieval, and did not maintain her own copies.”

CMS noted that this practice of not keeping emails “continued until November 2013,” just one month after the Obamacare website launched.

“It is possible that some emails may not be available to HHS,” the letter stated.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/07/obama-official-deleted-obamacare-emails-sought-by-congress/#ixzz39jyOTeVF