Congress is considering bipartisan legislation to impose a 75-cent-per-dose tax on all seasonal flu vaccines, which could add a $100 million a year to federal coffers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 135 million doses of the flu vaccine will be administered this year, which could translate into a windfall that could be used, along with taxes on other vaccines, to fund the nation's Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund, according to the Weekly Standard
That fund, begun in 1988, reportedly has paid just $2.5 billion for cases involving all vaccines.Its balance as of November was more than $3.5 billion. The Standard noted that the fund could probably survive for another 25 years without new revenues.
The $3.5 billion is reportedly invested in U.S. Treasury securities, which help to finance the nation's $16.5 trillion debt.
The House bill was introduced Feb.4 by Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach and co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, while the Senate version was submitted by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus and co-sponsored by ranking committee Republican Orrin Hatch.
A posting on the Senate website indicates an agreement has been reached on the legislation that is expected to lead to passage. If the House follows suit and the president signs it, the flu tax could be in place by next winter, the Standard reported.
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