Although we currently tax physical fitness services, tanning salon services, and tattoo parlor services, we do not tax elective cosmetic surgery.
We also provide funding assistance for Washington seniors who lack the means to pay for prescription drugs necessary for their health and well-being. Most of the seniors in this group require financial assistance only for help with the copayments that exist in Medicare Part D. Without this assistance, these seniors lose the benefit otherwise available to them through Medicare Part D and suffer the compromised health consequences created when they cannot fill the prescriptions their doctors say they need.
How are these two issues related?
Current budgetary deficits have forced the people we elect to represent us in the state legislature to either find services to cut or find new sources of revenue. The easy cuts have all been made in response to several years of declining state revenues resulting from the economic recession that began in 2008. Now our legislators are forced to consider hard cuts like eliminating funding assistance for seniors who lack the means to pay for prescription drugs.
HB 2022 would require elective cosmetic surgery be taxed as physical fitness services, tanning salon services, and tattoo parlor services are currently taxed in order to generate revenue necessary to continue providing financially challenged seniors with the assistance they need to use their Medicare Part D benefits and to fill the prescriptions their doctors say they need.
While no one likes a new tax, we think taxing elective cosmetic surgery as similar services are currently taxed is better than forcing our older neighbors to go without their prescription drugs.
Action: Contact House Ways and Means Committee Chair Ross Hunter by phone or email (360-786-7936 or Ross.Hunter@leg.wa.gov respectively). Ask Representative Hunter to schedule HB 2022 for a public hearing so that low-income seniors will not suffer the health consequences of going without needed prescription drugs.
Thanks for all your help, and
Peace be with you, Steven Aldrich, MPA Legislative Advocate and Policy Analyst