Tanning bed lobby loses to big-plastic in health care tax revenue battle

I’m figuring the local gyms and tanning salons who provide the sun-baked look to those pasty-white college girls in Minnesota don’t have much of a lobbying force in Washington D.C. The Senate dropped a 5 percent tax on cosmetic surgery, only to replace it with a 10 percent tax on tanning services. What will the cast from Jersey Shore do?

Sweetness & Light points us over to a story in Tuesday’s New York Times.

… Last weekend, the Senate replaced a 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic procedures with one on indoor tanning services in its proposed health care bill. …

Dr. David M. Pariser, the president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said his association proposed that an indoor-tanning tax be considered in place of the cosmetic tax, and that it contacted the offices of senators. “We made the case this will reduce health care costs by hopefully reducing skin cancer in the future — that’s the point — and also raise a little revenue now,” Dr. Pariser said.

The 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services, which the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation projects will raise $2.7 billion over 10 years (compared with the estimated $5.8 billion the cosmetic tax would have raised), is designed to offset some of the expense of providing health insurance for millions more Americans.

Supporters of the tax hope it will discourage the use of tanning beds, which have been linked to skin cancer. Indoor tanning before age 30 has been associated with a 75 percent increase in the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, according to a review of medical literature last summer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.

Indoor tanning is now on par with cigarettes and trans-fat. The government has deemed them dangerous so instead of banning them – that would be unconstitutional you see – they are going to tax the hell out of it.

At what point does the federal government step in to tax the purchase of bicycles 10 percent? From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Each year, more than 500,000 people in the US are treated in emergency departments, and more than 700 people die as a result of bicycle-related injuries.

Children are at particularly high risk for bicycle-related injuries. In 2001, children 15 years and younger accounted for 59% of all bicycle-related injuries seen in US emergency departments.

How many people die in tanning beds?

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Dimsdale on December 24, 2009 at 5:10 am

    Banning them would be unconstitutional??  I am unaware of any concerns for the Constitution by the Senate up to this point.  Why should this be different?


    Just like anything else they want to "tax out of existence", they can't eliminate the "fix" of tax money they get from this if it disappears, so something else will eventually be taxed to keep up the revenue stream.


    Or should I call it "more slop for the trough that the congresscritters feed from?"

  2. Bones on December 25, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Looks like they finally found a tax that only applies to white people.

  3. OkieJim on December 31, 2009 at 7:33 am

    "loose" is a noun that means "not tight",  "unchaste", or "not strict". "To loosen" is the verb which means "to make less tight".


    "To lose" is the verb you were looking for in the headline.


    Our English language is a great tool when we use it properly. Please support education by not spreading this particular bit of profanity. Thank you.

    • Steve McGough on December 31, 2009 at 7:58 am

      OK. Sorry … this is a blog, I try to do my best, will frequently make errors in the future … Hope you keep reading even though my grammar and spelling is not perfect.

    • OkieJim on January 1, 2010 at 7:38 am

      No apologies necessary. In fact, I'll issue a return apology for being a grammar Nazi.


      I only remind you that if you're going to be widely read (as I assume you are), then you have a responsibility to your readers. Think of that teenager who's going to say "ah! But RVO uses 'loose' like that!" — it could happen.


      Like it or not, you are a journalist — a pretty good one, if I'm allowed to say so. Your primary tools are language, powers of observation, reason, and wit; keeping all of these tools sharp is important if you seek to be read.


      Happy New Year! Keep soldiering on.



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