Senate Health Bill: Bo-Tax Out, Tanning Tax In

We know some of you have been worrying about that new bo-tax even if your face can no longer move to express it. But now you can relax: the cosmetic surgery tax is out, but the tanning tax has replaced it. All indoor tanning services will be subject to a ten percent tax should the Senate Democrats' health bill prevail.

The lobbying effort by those not-so-happy cosmetic surgeons has apparently paid off, and is leaving the tanning salon industry feeling a little singed.

House Minority Leader John Boehner

The tanned House Minority Leader speaks out against the health care bill. Harry Hamburg /AP hide caption

itoggle caption Harry Hamburg /AP

The President of the Indoor Tanning Association (Yes, it exists. It was founded in 1999 to protect the freedom of individuals to acquire a suntan) said in a report Saturday that the move was ironic as tanning has at least some proven health benefit.The amendment seems to have accounted for this, though, and wouldnt tax phototherapy issued by a medical professional, just tanning services purchased by individuals. Its estimated to raise $2.7 billion in that first ten year period. That may sound like a lot, but is less than half what the feds would have made on the broader "bo-tax."

Why the Senate decided to replace the cosmetic tax with the tanning one isn't totally clear, but an endorsement of the new version of the bill from the American Medical Association gives a hint. "We are pleased that the managers amendment addresses several issues of concern to AMA," says president-elect Cecil Wilson, who mentions the elimination of the cosmetic surgery tax by name. Sorry tanning industry, apparently you just didn't lobby hard enough in the Senate.

But the health debate's not over yet. The Senate bill still has to be married with the House bill. The tanning provision might even provide Minority Leader John Boehner, known for his year-round glow and his opposition to new taxes, with some new talking points.



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