Friday, November 21st, 2014

Fact-checking Michele Bachmann on the IRS and the health care law

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., warned viewers of looming problems with the Internal Revenue Service playing a role in implementing President Barack Obama's health care law. We take a closer look.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., warned viewers of looming problems with the Internal Revenue Service playing a role in implementing President Barack Obama's health care law. We take a closer look.

During a recent interview with Fox News, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., raised the specter of the Internal Revenue Service -- an agency currently under fire for appearing to target conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status -- collecting a database full of "intimate" details about Americans.

"So now we find out these people are making decisions based on our politics and beliefs, and they're going to be in charge of our health care," Bachmann said. "There's a huge national database that's being created right now. Your health care, my health care, all the Fox viewers health care, their personal, intimate, most close to the vest secrets will be in that database, and the IRS is in charge of that database? So the IRS will have the ability potentially -- will they? -- to deny health care, to deny access, to delay health care? This is serious! Based upon our political beliefs? That's why we have to repeal Obamacare. And I still think it's possible."

We fact-checked three statements from Bachmann's comments. Here, we'll recap our findings in brief; click the links to access the full reports.

• Bachmann said the IRS "will have the ability potentially" to deny or delay health care. Experts told us that was extremely far-fetched. But there is a chance that IRS could inadvertently end up delaying some of the millions of uninsured Americans seeking subsidies from purchasing insurance on the exchanges. We rated Bachmann’s claim Mostly False.

• Bachmann said the IRS is "going to be in charge of our health care." The IRS won’t oversee interactions between doctors and patients, nor will it play any more of a role than confirming that some people qualify for subsidies to buy health insurance. We rated Bachmann’s claim False.

• Bachmann said the IRS is going to be "in charge" of "a huge national database" on health care that will include Americans’ "personal, intimate, most close-to-the-vest-secrets." Actually, it’s not a "database." The IRS isn’t running it. It won’t include "intimate" health data. And most Americans won’t need to interact with it at all. We rate her comment Pants on Fire.