The New Healthcare Taxes Start

One new tax down, 20 more to come.

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Though the White House is unlikely to mark the occasion with any kind of public ceremony or pronouncement, July 1 marked the day the American taxpayer started footing the bill for the massive restructuring of the U.S. healthcare system.

It is not a stretch of the imagination to assert that many Americans believed President Barack Obama when he asserted that a government-backed healthcare system like the one he was advocating would lead to a reduction in costs without compromising the quality or availability of care. We now know that promise, like the “firm pledge” he made on the campaign trail not to raise any kind of taxes on those families making less than $250,000 per year was just so much soap.

[See 10 things that are (and aren't) in the healthcare reform law.]

The initial tax, the one that went into effect yesterday, is a 10 percent tax on the cost of tanning services. It is forecast to raise $2.7 billion of the total $569 billion in new taxes that are part of the just-passed healthcare law--but even that, any number of actuaries now say, is not enough to pay the total freight for Obama’s grand redesign of the U.S. healthcare system.

Those who think this is a small tax should think again. The number of Americans who visit tanning salons at least once per year is estimated to be about 30 million--with 75 percent of both customers and employees being women. And, of the nearly 19,000 professional indoor tanning salons and facilities now open in the United States, more than half are owned by women and employ close to 160,000 workers.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on healthcare reform.]

The “Tanning Tax” is just a start, just one of 21 new taxes or tax increases scheduled to go into effect to help pay for the new healthcare law. But, as we’ve come to understand in recent weeks, these new taxes and tax increases won’t bring in nearly enough money. Much of the new program will no doubt be financed by more debt and, with total U.S. federal indebtedness set to equal one year’s total GDP in just about a year or so, it is likely to precipitate an economic crisis that will have profound ramifications throughout the world.

  • Check out our editorial cartoons on healthcare.
  • See which members of Congress get the most from the health services industry.
  • See a slide show of 10 things that are (and aren't) in the healthcare bill.