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Maine's governor labels IRS as the 'new Gestapo' as states react to ACA

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Gov. Paul LePage has dubbed the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as the new Gestapo. He made the statement in his weekly radio address. It was a shot at President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was recently declared constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. (The Gestapo were Nazi Germany’s official secret police under Adolf Hitler, who imprisoned and murdered thousands of people without cause.)

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LePage was referring to the ACA’s use of the IRS to single out uninsured taxpayers. Those persons who do not have employer-funded health insurance or are not participants in Medicaid would have to buy health insurance or pay a tax.

“We the people have been told there is no choice,” he said. “You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS,” the Maine governor said in his weekly address to the people, according to the Waterville (ME) Morning Sentinel.

“LePage also addressed another element of the health-care law that was immediately thrust into the public debate: Medicaid expansion,” the Messenger report stated. “Originally, the Affordable Care Act required states to increase eligibility for low-income residents or pay a penalty. The court decision struck down the penalty; however, the federal government is still offering to pay for the expansion.

“The federal government will fund 100 percent of the expansion from 2014 to 2016, gradually declining to 90 percent after that.”

Perhaps the governor’s branding of the IRS as a Gestapo-like enforcement tool in the hands of the federal government is a bit over the top, but his alarm should serve as a warning of possible run-ins IRS agents could encounter with citizens choosing not to buy health insurance.

One statement that stood out in the governor’s address is true, whether one agrees with the Supreme Court decision or not: the ACA has “made America less free.”

Keith Hansen

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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