A 10% tax on indoor tanning? This is buried in the pages of the Senate health care bill.
What gives? Well originally the Senate bill propsoed a 5% tax on elective cosmetic surgery. Think botox, hair plugs and face lifts. And somehow lobbyists got involved. Specifically the America Medical Association. The elective cosmetic surgery tax was replaced by a 10% tax on indoor tanning. According to reports, the tanning tax is expected to net $2.7 billion over the next decade — less than half of the 5.8 billion “Botax” was expected to net.
Among the arguments put forth by critics of the Botax proposal? Since 85-90% of elective cosmetic surgery patients are women, a Botax would be discriminatory, an argument backed by the American Medical Association and the National Organization for Women, which opposes the Botax proposal.
Yet most tanning salon owners are women and most clients of tanning salons are women.
According to a recent blog post at Wallet-Pop, John Overstreet, executive director of the ITA (Indoor Tanning Association) said, “It is not surprising that one primarily cosmetic business is trying to throw another under the bus by transferring a tax from rich doctors and their wealthy customers to struggling small businesses. The irony is that ultraviolet light at least has proven health benefits, where botox treatments have none.”
According to the NYTimes:
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.
So people who like to go to tanning salons may now be bearing some of the costs of the new legislation. And the lobbyists have saved botox nation from any additional taxes.