Burned by Congress

March 23, 2010

I have nothing against a national health care bill, in fact, I think we definitely need one.   This particular health care bill happens to be 2,562 pages long and admittedly, I haven’t read the whole thing.  But I did see the part where there would be a 10% “vanity tax” imposed on consumers who use indoor tanning services beginning in July.   This is expected to raise  $2.7 billion by 2019 while discouraging a practice that can cause skin cancer.   

Okay, I get it.  One million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year.   One thousand people in the US die each year from it.  But compare that to the 1.25 million people who have heart attacks, and the 425,000 people who die from them.   Or to the 5.5 million Americans who have cirrhosis of the liver, 40% of whom have it because of alcohol abuse.    Or to the 219,000 new cases of lung cancer, and the 159,000 deaths each year, many of which were brought on by smoking.  So where’s the new tax on artery-hardening fast food or liver-demolishing liquor or lung-quashing cigarettes? 

There are more than 50,000 tanning salons in the United States, the majority of which are not chains, but independently owned.   They’re small business owners who may on the one hand benefit from the new health care reform legislation, but are shouldering an unfair burden of the cost through the nature of their business.    Most will have no choice but to pass along that increase to their customers, which could hurt their businesses.     Why isn’t there a tax on memberships to outdoor swimming pools or golf courses or other places that may expose you to the sun?    

Interestingly enough, the health care bill originally included a 5% “vanity tax” on cosmetic surgeries and procedures.  Some were calling it the “bo-tax” and it was expected to raise 5 billion dollars in the next 10 years.  Apparently, the lobby for cosmetic surgeons is more organized and powerful than the lobby for tanning salons, because the “bo-tax” was taken out of the health care plan before the vote.     

I still have hundreds of pages to read, so I may be back to discuss other issues regarding the new health care plan.  On this particular issue though, forget the UV rays;  tanning salon owners and their customers are getting burned by Congress!



  1. You’re right on Chrys. This whole bill was simply rushed through to say that they passesd a bill. There was little thought put in to how it would affect small business owners and the middle class. Nor was there a lot of thought on how to support this bill. You’re right, a vanity tax should be inclusive of plastic surgery, and probably gyms and beauty salons; after all they are all vanity. The problem is that over 10% if Americans are out of work, and obviously can bearly afford any of the above mentioned “vanities”, let alone pay taxes on them. It is my oppinion that Congress should have spent these last few months trying to come up with a jobs bill instead of a heath bill. However I think Congress would have messed that up too.

  2. I also agree too, Chrys. The bill was pushed through.
    It is most irratating and disgusting because those in Congress have known that the country has been so divided on the Healthcare Plan but just
    buy votes from other Congressmen to get the legislation their way.
    Those in Congress just believe any longer that they do not need to listen to the Citizens of their district or region and just do what ever they want themselves!

  3. You have to be kidding me. This isn’t new news. Guys like Linbaugh, Hannity, and Beck have been telling the public all that’s in this bill for over a year. If you haven’t written your congressman it is still not too late, although as can be seen it probably won’t do any good. The only Dem. in Ohio to vote against the health bill is now being beat up by the unions. How this bill ever passed is beyond me cause, like Chris and the rest of us, Congress hasn’t read it either.

  4. Don’t forget, Chrys, huge tobacco taxes have been levied to fund the pasage of S-Chip for middle & low income kids health care. I agree with you that “sin” taxes should be hiked sky-high on alcohol, fast/fat foods & beverages and other non-essential luxuries like mobile phones,gaming systems, even a spike in gasoline to limit unnecessary driving.anything to get people to stay home more; get a grip on diet,exercise and focus on family budget to get out of debt, re-learning to cook, clean, read, write. mow lawns, balance checkbooks. Impose 25% temporary sales tax on all fast food, new clothing,spectator sporting events and use those dollars to subsidize libraries, parks & recreation, public transport, local primary care clinics, free financial & familily mental health couneling and substneance abuse treatment.

  5. Kathleen! We don’t need the government to tax us into obedience! Nor do we need the government to get involved in our eating right and being good parents, and good health and the forever list! These things are personal respondsiblities and if those too lazy to help themselves to be healthy, fit and conservative; shouldn’t punish the rest of us who take respondsibility for our own well being!

  6. I cannot understand what makes political folks, local, state or federal, think that the people have unlimited resourses and deep pockets. Every May and November our school systems beg like a PBS station, claiming dire results if we don’t give them more money; they pretty much mis-spend what we give them to start with (think of pounding sand down a rat-hole). Our Mayor wants to charge us $15 for picking up our trash, an un-voted for tax. Which heart medication do I not buy each month to pay for this? I am on disability, and will not get a raise because our Mayor wants more money. The State and Federal governments – too numerous to list here, these taxes they want. It seems to me that our elected leaders should pick up a history book about the founding of our nation, read it and learn what caused our difficulties with England’s Parliment. They need to revise their thinking.

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