Beyond entrenchment among beneficiaries, one of the biggest obstacles to shrinking entitlement programs are the bureaucratic establishments that emerge to manage the program, both inside and outside government. For example, one of the biggest lobbies against tax reform are accountants. They make a living on complicated tax returns. And now, that interest group has a new rent to seek–Obamacare.
I noted that while filing my 2013 tax return, TurboTax questioned me about whether I had health insurance. For a lark, I said no, and it directed me to signup at HealthCare.gov, and told me about the penalties I would have to pay. I immediately realized that accountants now have a vested interest in the growth, development, and obfuscation of Obamacare.
The Times has an article right on point, titled “Tax Preparers’ New Role: Health-Coverage Advisers”
The tax system provides both the carrot and the stick for people to obtain coverage. Tax preparers like Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block say they have helped tens of thousands of people apply for tax credits to help defray the cost of private insurance purchased through the exchanges.
In addition, the big tax service companies and makers of tax preparation software like Intuit’s TurboTax are calculating potential penalties for those who do not have insurance.
“It’s a tremendous business opportunity,” said Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy at Jackson Hewitt. “We can do well by doing good.”
This how the Obamacare Industrial Complex will continue to creep its tentacles into all aspects of society.