Republicans grill IRS commissioner on health care

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Douglas Shulman is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, prior to testifying before the House Oversight Committee. Can the IRS police President Barack Obama's health care mandate while simultaneously collecting all the taxes for running the federal government? The question is being renewed in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision upholding most of the 2010 Affordable Care Act as a tax issue rather than one of interstate commerce. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans are grilling the head of the Internal Revenue Service on the agency’s decision to apply the health care law’s tax credits in states that decide not to carry out a key provision of the statute.

Commissioner Douglas Shulman on Thursday defended the IRS rule that applies the tax credits to federal insurance exchanges, which are the bodies that will be developed to allow those without health insurance to buy it. He testified at a House hearing.

The issue is a new controversy over President Barack Obama’s health care law. Several states already have decided not to establish their own insurance exchanges. In those states, federal exchanges would be created.

The credits would help consumers pay for private insurance beginning in 2014.

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