The United States may soon raise taxes on vaccines for seasonal influenza and other diseases to raise money to compensate people claiming injury from the shots.
Congress plans to vote on a bi-partisan proposal to raise taxes on vaccine recipients, levying a 75-cent surcharge per dose on any "vaccine against seasonal influenza." Given epidemiological projections from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Internal Revenue Service should take in $100 million per year, taxing those who choose to receive the vaccine.
The new tax revenue would fund the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund, a "no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims that provides compensation to people found to be injured by certain vaccines." However, media reports question the need for the new revenue, noting the fund had a balance in November 2012 of more than $3.5 billion, compared to payouts of only $2.5 billion to victims since its inception in 1988. Analysts say the present fund balance would last another 25 years with no further tax revenue.
While many libertarians oppose public health measures including vaccinations, the conservative publication American Thinker wrote this week:
So, the trial lawyers lobby craves this tax since it insures them a continued easy payday. The hard left lib/progs covet this tax since it creates an new tax that is not required, so as to further soak the bourgeoisie in favor of the working proletariat, right comrade?"
Conservative blogger Larry Mendte, with the Philly Post, also criticized the tax:
So what is going on? For the answer to that question you need to read the fine print of the bill. Any money not used to pay off vaccine claims will be invested in U.S. Treasury securities. In other words, the money will be used to finance the nation's $16.5 trillion debt.
Both the Senate and House versions of the bill were introduced in February with sponsors from both major parties, including Sens. Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, and Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah.