Having already declared health care reform a failure just three months after it passed, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) wants to alert the public that today is the day the Affordable Care Act begins to destroy America, one tanning salon at a time. Boehner blasted out a press release and tweet warning about a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning beds, which goes into affect today, to help fund the Affordable Care Act. Citing a Wall Street Journal article, Boehner wrote, the tax is “causing all kinds of problems for business owners who provide tanning services.” Indeed, the Journal notes the horror one owner of a video store that also offers tanning beds will have to deal with:
Today, she wants to offer one free tan for every three rentals. Should that freebie be taxed? Ms. Chamberlain doesn’t know.
Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee cried, “no amount of sunscreen or Aloe will relieve the pain of the Democrats’ impending 10 percent tax on indoor tanning beds.” The Heritage Foundation blasted the tax as well, while Fox News dutifully whined on behalf of the tanning industry. The network reported live from a tanning salon, declaring the tax to be “unfair,” “confusing,” and even “discriminatory”:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) also refused to take this injustice lying down in a tanning bed. Proving to Americans that his party — despite what his own colleague says — has substantive policy alternatives, McCain told the Jersey Shore’s Snooki via Twitter that if he were president, “u r right, I would never tax your tanning bed! Pres Obama’s tax/spend policy is quite The Situation.”
The tanning tax — in addition to raising $2.7 billion to help Americans afford health care who otherwise couldn’t — is aimed at discouraging unhealthy activities, much like taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. A recent study from the American Association for Cancer Research found that people “who tanned indoors had a 74% greater risk of developing melanoma than those who never used the machines.” Melanoma is “one of the most aggressive and deadliest cancers,” killing about 10 percent of those diagnosed — 48,000 each year worldwide. The “tax will significantly reduce the future costs of treating skin cancers,” the president of the American Academy of Dermatology told CNN. Meanwhile, fewer than 10 percent of Americans use tanning beds, and at an average cost of about $15 to $20 per visit, customer will only pay about $1.50 or $2.00 extra.
But if Boehner and the cast of Jersey Shore refuse to pay the extra couple bucks, they can always switch to spray-on tans, which will not be taxed.