Acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Daniel Werfel briefed the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday on the agency’s role in implementing and enforcing participation in Obamacare, which is set to start rolling out Oct. 1.
The temporary Obama appointee found it difficult to get through the session without staring down some hard questions from Republicans already opposed to the law. But, to his credit, Werfel allowed himself an extraordinary measure of candor when committee member Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) asked him this:
Mr. Werfel, last week your employees who are a member of the National Treasury Employee’s Union sent a form letter for union members to send in to ask they be exempt from the exchanges. Why are your employees trying to exempt themselves from the very law that you’re tasked to enforce?
For those who don’t watch the video, the upshot is Werfel telling Johnson: “I would prefer to stay with the current policy that I’m pleased with rather than go through a change if I don’t need to go through that change.”
Werfel’s response was astonishing for its honesty. He did attempt to justify the exempting of Federal employees by explaining that, with their comfortable benefit package, they aren’t ideal candidates for what Obamacare is selling. But that only serves to illustrate the chasm that separates the quality and cost of currently available health coverage from the government-subsidized, wealth-redistributing plans mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In a related note, Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner made an emergency request on Wednesday to postpone the start of Obamacare health exchanges in the State, as leaders try to figure out how to reconfigure new health plans under the program that won’t jack rates by 198 percent.