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  • December 9, 2009

    Will Obamacare Heavily Tax Or Even Outlaw SCUBA Diving?

    I try and stay politically neutral here, after all this is a diving blog, not a political blog; however, it was pointed out to me that if Obamacare passes, I might not have anything to blog about in a few years.

    As seemingly ridiculous as the headline states, there may be more truth to it than you think.

    So many laws have been passed in the name of “public safety.”

    Seat belt, helmet, smoking, drinking, jay walking, and other “nanny state laws” were not passed because the government cares about your well being.

    The real “reason” is to lower the supposed costs to society when you are hurt – and according to most politicians, everyone will eventually get hurt.

    So what will happen to sports like SCUBA diving, hang gliding, rock climbing and bungee jumping that are considered “dangerous” pastimes if national healthcare passes?

    Randy Shaw,* the training manager at the National Association of Underwater Instructors, which organizes scuba diving teachers, said he wouldn’t put it past Congress to at least inadvertently include his members in a higher-risk pool, but that he hadn’t seen anything that would lead him to be concerned.

    “Right now people are more worried about how they’re going to keep their dive shops open,” he said. “But if the health care bill were to include diving as a hazardous risk, and increase premiums, we’d try and fight that any way we could… you can pretty much statistically validate that diving is less risky to your health than walking in a major city.”

    Shaw had strong feelings about the bill overall.

    “The whole thing is just an excuse for them to be able to control your life a little more,” he said.

    SCUBA shop gets raided by the Health Care Policehealthcare.

    The health care bill is more than 1,400 pages of government entitlements, taxes and special interest provisions – nobody really knows what this monstrosity will do, because nobody has read the whole thing.

    Look at countries that have, or have had, national healthcare – The Soviet Union (USSR) and East Germany (GDR) extended “free” health care to all, but outlawed hang gliding, hot air ballooning and private aircraft for “public safety” reasons.

    Greece, which has national healthcare, severely restricts recreational SCUBA diving off of their shores.

    Maybe outlawing SCUBA diving altogether will never materialize, but how will they offset the imaginary increased “risk to society” unless they impose some kind of additional tax?

    *Randy Shaw was quoted from an article published at


    1. You have got to be kidding me. It looks like you’re just using scare tactics to push a political agenda. My Greek friends say SCUBA is limited offshore because of historic reasons, it has nothing to do with healthcare.

      Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Malaysia, Seychelles, Thailand, the UK, Australia and New Zealand (according to Wikipedia) all have universal health care and they don’t seem to have any problems with SCUBA.

      I’m not saying I support or oppose Obamacare (I hope we can all agree in its current state it is problematic), but to say that it will kill SCUBA is just plain ignorant.

      Comment by Nick Bostic — December 11, 2009 @ 8:57 am

    2. Your argument about banning SCUBA diving is pretty weak. I like how you try and cherry pick and twist around alot of unrelated so called facts.

      Comment by Comrade Yuri — December 12, 2009 @ 9:47 am

    3. While I’m not entirely in favor of the health care bill and all of its inclusions, I have to say that health care reform in one form or another is direly needed. Pharmaceutical and Medical Insurance companies have been raping the average American joe for way too long. I’m only 24 years old, a non smoker and in relatively good health and I pay over a 150 bucks a month for my health insurance! I’ve looked around for other insurers but no one can match the coverage for the price I pay “Aetna PPO gen med / dental”. I get what you are saying about the governments intrusion on our basic freedoms in many different forms including many so called public safety laws and I’m unsure about the current health care bill and what it all entails in regard to that. And that’s the heart of the problem, we don’t necessarily know whats in this bill and how it will affect the general public. An outright ban on our more risky past times will never occur in this country “like what has happened Germany” but there is a chance an increase in insurance premiums for enjoying such activities could occur. In any case someone is going to get the shit end of the stick.

      Beyond this specific issue, we as a people need to realize that this two party system is not working and that neither party has worked for the benefit of the American people for quite a long time. I say F’ the Democrats and F’ the Republicans. I’m voting Libertarian. They are the only political party currently working for the American people’s benefit. They want our founding fathers dream realized. A limited government with high emphasis on personal liberties and freedoms. Where people can choose how they want to live without the government telling us when we can shit, stand, kneel or pray. If your unsure about what Libertarians stand for visit their website:

      I got on a bit of a tangent, but we need to realize that this twisted bloated government what we have today is not the America out parents and grandparents grew up in. We need to stop this perversion before its too late.

      Comment by Frank — December 12, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

    4. Thank you PSD, Nick, Yuri and Frank. Good of all you to put out your thoughts on a variety of issues.

      I’m going to splash in with a comment of my own on PSD’s original point, which I believe is that if we don’t pay attention to what the politicians are doing, we may find increase regulation of Scuba diving. This could either be directly, like how the government has put up barriers for keeping the weakest brains in the herd from getting too close to the geyser at Hot Creek and have banned all swimming in it to protect us or is the environment from us? Or indirectly, by charging increased insurance premiums for engaging in a “dangerous” life style. (Of course there is zero chance of a health insurance premium enhancement because you drive a car, because only 48,000 people a year die doing it).

      I support health care reform. Not because I am under any illusion that the sausage the politicians make out of it will taste good, but because the current health care “system” has to change and whatever they do at this point is a start, not the end. I support it because my sister cannot get health insurance because of her significant health problems and it has wiped her family out financially.. I also support it because I pay have to pay $653 per month (does not include my wife for which I get to pay another $250 for a similar policy) for a policy with a $5,000 deductible because of the insurance industry’s lame definition of “pre-existing conditions”.

      Regardless of what happens with health care reform, if we aren’t vigilant, anything is possible in Washington. The only thing I got of studying political science is that, “in a democracy, people get the government they deserve”. Those that don’t vote, express their opinion to elected officials and their friends and neighbors and back it with money contributed to those fighting to protect you, are just providing the KY jelly to the corporate representatives in Washington paid for by those out to make a fast buck.

      Comment by Crazy Ivan — December 15, 2009 @ 2:36 pm

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