MN03 MathGuy Problem : $92 Million + $343 Million = The Ugly Truth of the Erik Paulsen Healthcare Plan

Simply stated, Third District “Representative” Erik Paulsen does not like Excise Taxes.

He has pending legislation to terminate or reform the excise tax collected from medical device producers (H.R. 184) and craft beers (H.R. 747) and as part of H.R. 1628 the American Health Care Reform Act of 2017 (aka PaulsenInsuranceProtectionAct) , “Representative” Paulsen voted to terminate the Tanning Tax Excise Tax (in the previous Congress, the bill had 112 sponsors including Tom Emmer and John Kline).

The Tanning Tax was initiated as part of the Affordable Care Act … just one of the many revenue streams that would pay for ObamaCare — something that the Republicans did not do when they added Part D (as in Drugs) to the Medicare program in 2003 (at a cost of $549 Billion).

No doubt some thought this was directed at then Speaker, John Boehner who rented an apartment for a lobbyist who represented tanning companies … heck, one Congressman even called it a “racist tax” because he was white and those that had “dark skin” would not go to tanning booths.

Yet this should be considered as a “user” fee — just like the medical device company which paid an excise tax as part of a replacement knee surgery.

As a “user” fee, the consumer would end up paying for it. The first year the tanning tax was collected, 2011, added $99 million to the US Treasury. 2012 was $102 million, followed by $92 million in 2013 and 2014 — the last year that the numbers have been reported.

And during the Ways and Means Committee mark-up of the AHCA, an amendment was offered to retain the tanning tax … but Erik Paulsen and his Republican colleagues in a party line vote rejected it 24 to 16.

So the US Treasury will lose essentially $92 million … and most likely users of tanning services will not see any reduction in their bills … thus, a nice windfall for the industry.

Now to the Ugly Truth … as American Cancer Society called in their headline “The Ugly Truth About Indoor Tanning”, it ain’t good for you.

Indoor tanning exposes you to intense UV rays, increasing your risk of melanoma – the second most common cancer in women between 20 and 29 years old.

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types, and the number of cases has been climbing over the past decade. Today, more than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the United States. That’s more than all other cancers combined. The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to limit your exposure to UV rays, whether they come from the sun or from man-made sources such as indoor tanning beds.

And according to a new study published in the Journal of Cancer Policy, there is a cost.

The researchers looked at all skin cancer cases in 2015, and then applied data on indoor tanning prevalence and relative risk of skin cancer after using a tanning bed to those numbers. They estimated that there were 263,600 cases of skin cancer in 2015 that could be attributed to the use of tanning beds.

The researchers then summed up the average annual cost of treating patients with each type of cancer, which totaled more than $343 million each year.

“Our findings highlight both the negative health and negative financial impacts associated with indoor tanning,” the authors wrote.

So let’s do the math, $92 million lost revenue and treatment costs of $343 million, why would Erik Paulsen vote to terminate the tanning tax ?

Well, how about something the Trump Administration is known for — “Alternative Facts”.

During the Committee debate, Jim Renacci R-OH-16 asserted that this was a “jobs” issue … citing an industry report that 80,927 jobs were lost and 9,658 businesses were closed because of the “onerous tax” (a phrase that “Representative” Paulsen has used when discussing the medical device industry.) The conclusion of the report was that “half of the industry has been eliminated due to this devastating tax.”
Representative” Renacci did a little math and concluding that these 81,000 lost jobs — at $10/hour — somehow resulted in $1.6 Trillion in lost wages (heh, MathGuy, do you agree with that?)

Wow … and in the wisdom of Ronald Reagan — “Trust but verify” — other than the industry report, “Representative” Renacci did not offer any proof.
So to “verify”, let’s look at the top contributor to the American Suntanning Association PAC , Palm Beach Tan … and the number of franchises in 2010 when the ACA was enacted was 200, now Palm Beach Tan has over 400. Another PAC contributor, Sun Tan City has opened an operation in my community since the ACA was enacted … in fact, Sun Tan City has grown from 100 to over 250.
Are there job losses ??? Yet the industry is certainly not on its death bed.
Prompting the question … does the MathGuy see addition as suggested by these companies websites … or subtraction as stated by “Representative” Renacci ?

But it’s pretty easy to blame the Tanning Tax, without also mentioning that some other factors that could have impacted their businesses —
Twelve States plus the District of Columbia prohibit people younger than 18 from using indoor tanning devices: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Texas and Vermont.
Oregon and Washington prohibit those under 18 from using indoor tanning devices, unless a prescription is provided.
An information campaign from the Skin Cancer Foundation citing :
— More people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking.
— Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 67 percent increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.
— Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 69 percent risk of developing basal cell carcinoma before age 40.

In summary, what Erik “The Math Guy” Paulsen has done is to mask a tax cut to another business while leaving the cost of the treatment on policyholders (for those that have healthcare insurance) and by increasing the number of uninsured, will no doubt leave many to never seek medical attention.

Erik Paulsen wants to portray himself as “The Math Guy” yet it is apparent that he is truly a corporate shill.

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