Vaccines are taxable?

Easing into political blogging with a light post. Please comment if you like the inline sources or if you want a bibliography style citation.

I follow the “Congressional Daily Digest”. You can follow it here: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php Click on “Subscribe” in the upper right and pick RSS or Email as you like.

This bill from the June 19th update caught my attention, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.+475: . It was posted in the digest as, “Seasonal Influenza Vaccines: Senate passed H.R. 475, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include vaccines against seasonal influenza within the definition of taxable vaccines.”

The final text passed from the House to the Senate is here,http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr475rds/pdf/BILLS-113hr475rds.pdf. Now the fault in this text is that it doesn’t link to the IRS code its amending! So we’re relying on the summary at the top to say what it does. Annoying, but for legislation this brief I think we can trust it.

This caught my attention for a few reasons:

  1. That vaccines are taxable at all
  2. That medication is taxable
  3. That some vaccines were not taxable and now are
  4. That a vaccine which public health officials have been strongly encouraging everyone to get for years is now taxable

Why is something that is important for health taxable at all? Why are some taxable and some aren’t? Finally, it strikes me as a little bit rude to suddenly decide to tax something that you’ve been hounding me to buy!

Closing remark – The House passed this by a voice vote. Methinks the GOP didn’t fight this INCREASE IN TAXES very hard now did they?

 

EDIT – Fixed a link

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3 thoughts on “Vaccines are taxable?

  1. A lot of medical equipment is taxed, and I’ve paid taxes on medications for long enough that I don’t remember not doing it. I think that the taxes in Obamacare opened up the floodgates on that front quite a bit. Once you’ve done it once on a grand scale, it becomes easier to nickel and dime your way through the rest.

    If the flu shot is effective for the year it’s given (hit or miss, but they’re doing the best they can), then it’s a lifesaving preventive that everyone who can get it should get it. It’s pretty brazen to try to wet the government beak in something like this.

    And yes, the Republicans didn’t exactly die on that particular hill.

    • I let inconsistencies slide from the Democrats a little more than the GOP. They could have had an opportunity here to take a stand on taxes, taxes that will impact low- and middle-class consumers, and on healthcare. It seems backwards to tax preventative, or lower impact medication when just one person on public assistance with the flu visiting a regular doc would cost hundreds.

      I did look up the tax, it is $0.75 (seventy-five cents) per dose according to this Googled source http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/house-consider-tax-new-flu-vaccines_736725.html . IIRC flu shots are $20-30 without insurance. So yea probably best to just let that one ride.

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