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Healthcare reform fun facts: The 10% tan tax

I'm sure these nuggets will keep emerging from the healthcare overhaul bill, but so far here's my favorite:

A 10% tanning tax.

Indoor tanning services will now carry an additional tax. (California, remember, has been talking about taxing all services, which presumably includes tanning, although given that in these parts, it's copious and free outdoors, I expect people would flock to that alternative.)

I expect it's being regarded in health circles as the melanoma tax, not the tanning tax; an agency of the World Health Organization has found those UV rays to be carcinogenic to humans.

There is, as you will not be surprised to learn, an Indoor Tanning Assn., which, also not astonishingly, opposes this as a ''body blow to the industry,'' as its executive director says.

It's a blow, all right, but not that one: Healthcare reform strikes a blow for solar power!

-- Patt Morrison


Comments () | Archives (29)

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black people don't use tanning beds...whites do. This is clearly a race related socilistic sham tax to 'spread the wealth.' Tanning companies probably don't make a huge profit margin, so this will be damaging to more businesses causing more loss of jobs. Racist black liberation cult theology Obama mentor Jeremiah Wright is grinning like a Cheshire cat now, not to mention anti-white 'people of color' who helped plan this stupid tax. Vote the Dems out in upcoming elections.

Tom Davis

Imagine the outcry if a tax were placed on services used only by blacks or Hispanics. This is a "tax whitey" scheme if ever I saw one.


Calling this a 'tax whitey' is ridiculous. Tanning beds are extremely dangerous, it's not about being white, it's about health. About time there was some incentive for people to stop turning their skin into tanned leather and put on some sunscreen.

andrew nelson

"If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare,
and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare,
they may take the care of religion into their own hands;
they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish
and pay them out of their public treasury;
they may take into their own hands the education of children,
establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union;
they may assume the provision of the poor;
they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads;
in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation
down to the most minute object of police,
would be thrown under the power of Congress.... Were the power
of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for,
it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature
of the limited Government established by the people of America."

James Madison

"When patience has begotten false estimates of its motives, when wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality." --Thomas Jefferson to M. deStael, 1807. ME 11:282

"Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." --Thomas Jefferson: his motto.

Mitchell Young

This could be evened out with a tax on skin lighteners (oh, how we miss you, Michael J.) , "Asian eyelid surgery", and all those "celulitis" products sold on UnivisiĆ³n.


I am hopeful that most (all?) of this rhetoric is with tongue firmly in cheek. If not, it is truly a sad, sad state we are in, and I don't mean California. These kinds of comments only give further fuel to the pugilistic Jeremiah Wrights and Rush Limbaughs of the world to stoke their fires of hatred and hypocrisy.

andrew nelson

Well it is discriminatory. It's a "White's Only" Tax. I think we need to either get rid of it, or spread it around in a way that doesn't discriminate against the non-whites who don't get the opportunity to enjoy the tax.


Tax or no tax, tanning booths are a ridiculous waste of time, money and resources. I abhor the very thought of agreeing with Ms. Morrison on most of her opinions, but this time she's right: The sun is free - and it doesn't put a drag on electricity. Also, the UV is the UV (whether it comes from the sun or a tanning bed's light).

These tanning salons are an unnecessary luxury in a still shaky economy. Be glad they aren't being taxed at the luxury rate!

andrew nelson

lol, Beauty Queen. You decide what others get to do with their money? And decide, for them, that tanning is bad so we should tax it?

LOL. I have a better idea... :)

Obesity is the #1 cost driver for health care. Obesity afflicts more than 30% of our population, and is the primary obstacle for lower income, or poverty level children. If we're liberal progressive and believe in taxes and paying our fair share for healthcare, we would progressively tax overweight people, the more overweight the higher the tax, to discourage obesity, and to pay the added social cost. We would also progressively tax all processed foods sugar, sodium, and fat contents, to discourage their use, like we do cigarettes.

Truth is, we should impose a fat tax, on body fat, that is progressively higher for higher weight, first to discourage it, second to be fair to society to pay for the additional cost. That fat would be measured every year, by a physician, during a yearly check up, and the results sent to the IRS for the assessment of the tax.

Hey, then it's not a discriminatory tax and we get all races involved who can happily and merrily participate in this progressive new life we want to lead.


I fully support this tax. I am a 27 year old male who had a piece of skin removed from my cheek the size of a golfball two years ago. I had a sclerosing basal cell skin cancer directly related to sun damage. I never used tanning beds, and grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where it is cloudy and rainy 10 months out of the year. I am not a readhead, I am not pale, and I never really had any bad sunburns through my life, but the sun that I did get was enough to spur the cancer. Why anyone would want to up their risk by going to a tanning bed is beyond me. I wouldn't demonize tanning salons, or people who choose to use them, but there is a risk, and I don't think a tax is unreasonable. And hey, now anyone who does use tanning beds and develops skin cancer won't have to go to war with an insurance company over a $17,000 mohs surgery over what they claim is a pre-existing condition as I did with Blue Shield of California. I have a faint 4" scar across my cheek to show for my time in the sun, but others aren't so lucky. A woman who was receiving surgery on the same day as myself needed skin grafts on her nose, and was looking at a potentially disfiguring surgery to remove the cancer. I just don't think a slightly darker skin tone is worth the risk of losing part of one's face.

Dr. Alan Phillips

The reality of lost jobs still confronts the nation. Administration representatives continue to forecast high percentages of unemployed for the immediate future. This administration has provided more than its share of rhetorical commitments to focus like a laser on bringing back jobs, yet voters do not see concrete action. We now have learned that Caterpillar Corporation is anticipating an extra 100 million a year in new healthcare reform costs that will ultimately result in more lost jobs.

Americans are asking as to when will this administration take a determined role with the Congress and lower corporate taxes from 35 percent to a level which will attract and restore jobs. Ireland's 12.5 percent continues to fuel their full employment efforts as we watch the economic decline of our country. Loss of payroll, real estate taxes, homes, and small businesses continue to fuel unemployment and despair.

Where is the Congressional action in implementing an infrastructure bank to bring jobs for constructing the nation's highways, bridges, high speed rail and other projects? We all await any sign of concern and activity on the administration's part to truly deal with these economic issues.

Why are many of the nation's banks not lending? Why are regulations on small businesses being expanded and new taxes planned? Why has a plan not been presented to the nation for growth and steps to economic revitalization? Could the lack of concern about jobs at the White House and Congress simply be a reflection of administrative planning.

We currently have at least 17-28 percent of our people without jobs or underemployed. Economic recovery remains the number one issue in this nation. Left ignored, job and business losses could threaten the national security of America. The time has come to lower state and federal taxes on companies and provide an incentive for job return to America.

America economically can come back with full employment only if the President exhibit's the same resolve and determination that resulted in a bill a majority of the nation did not want.

Dr. Alan Phillips


Tax or no tax, [YOUR CHILDREN] are a ridiculous waste of time, money and resources.

[YOUR CHILDREN] are an unnecessary luxury in a still shaky economy.

So far as I'm concerned: feeding your children and providing them with healthcare is a ridculous waste of time, money and resources and is an unnecessary luxury in a still shaky economy. So if you can't afford healthcare then get an abortion.


"Tanning Beds are Extremely dangerous so they should be taxed to save us from ourselves" WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP! Cars kill people- tanning beds don't kill people! If they were doing this for our safety they wouldn't have spent a trillion dollars saving the car companies. They would have let them wither and die. You know : "for our safety" .Where were you when they were saving the auto industry? Shouldn't you have been protesting it "for health reasons? ... Oh right, I forgot, you don't use tanning beds but you do use a car. Quit with that pathetic "for our health" argument!

andrew nelson

"I ... fully support this tax. I am a 27 year old male who had a piece of skin removed from my cheek the size of a golfball two years ago..."

Posted by: Louie | March 24, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Dude, you have a bigger problem. It's called 'Hostage Syndrome", where you identify with your captor. See a doctor. Get a spine injection. Resolve to live an independent free life.


Louie. You are a dip stick. You said that your skin cancer came from the sun only, and not a tanning bed, so you support the tan tax. You are an idiot. Maybe we should tax idiots for using the Internet.


Check out how the tax could affect the guys of "Jersey Shore"...



Mixed feelings on this. I don't support government dictating -through taxes- how we spend our money or what we do to our bodies. On the other hand, I feel pretty strongly that we only hurt ourselves with tanning beds.

Most people think skin cancer won't happen to them, until it happens and it is devastating. Whether it has been proven 100% or not that tanning beds can cause cancer, how can it be good at all for our bodies? Next week may be the week that it is proven they cause cancer.

Why do we want to kill our skin to look tan? I love the sun and I do like getting some color (only get it in the summer living in PA), but year-round use of tanning beds is creating dead skin, aging skin (not pretty after years of tanning), and asking for potential problems.

andrew nelson

- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's home district includes San Francisco.

- StarKist Tuna's headquarters are in San Francisco, Pelosi's home district.

- StarKist is owned by Del Monte Foods and is a major contributor to Pelosi.

- StarKist is the major employer in American Samoa employing 75% of the Samoan work force.

- Paul Pelosi, Nancy's husband, owns $17 million dollars of StarKist stock.

- In January, 2007 when the minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $7.25, Pelosi had American Samoa exempted from the increase so Del Monte would not have to pay the higher wage. This would make Del Monte products less expensive than that of its competitors.

- Last week when the huge bailout bill was passed, Pelosi added an earmark to the final bill adding $33 million dollars for an "economic development credit in American Samoa "

Maybe if Tuna used tanning beds, we could get the tax lifted.


The comment by andrew nelson made me laugh...mostly at him.

FactCheck answered that chain email. He doesn't own the stocks. She didn't take their money.


You got fooled dude.

John Seale

I ask myself, "Why should I be so upset about this"? Maybe because "It's a new tax" or "It's telling me what to do with my money". Both of these points are reasonable enough...especially since you're living where the Sun is free for everyone.

This is the silliest tax I've ever heard of. Can I find out, I ask, who conjured up this ridiculous idea..."taxing the alternative Sun"...as a way to balance spending, etc. It sounds like an idea hatched in some high school classroom from some bored students seeking the "alternatives" to some rabble-rousing. It goes like this, I think; "Hey...you wanna' get 'em to listen? Tax 'em where it really means to be intrusive: Tanning Salons in Beverly Hills! Ha...ha". I wonder why these ideas seem to just germinate out of this Democratic Administration. I ask, "Can I get a break"?

thom barney

I already had melanoma, so I have been taxed!
That's it!
I'm going to go straight 'tea party' from now on out.
NO, wait, those sob s are really taxing.
where do I pay this?
what box do I check?
Is there a federal deduction?
thom b

Dan Wickerd

10% tatts tax. Help alleviate global warming and eyestrain.


Andrew Nelson, I hate to let facts get in the way of your political attack against Nancy Pelosi, but your nonsense post about Starkist went wrong from the first sentence. First, StarKist Tuna is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, not San Francisco, CA. Second, StarKist is owned by Dongwon Industries of South Korea, not Del Monte Foods. Starkist was at one time owned by Texas Pacific Group (an investment fund) which was a major shareholder in Del Monte, but in any event, StarKist is now owned by a South Korean company. Third, Nancy Pelosi's husband never owned stock in either Del Monte or Starkist. Fourth, American Samoa never was granted an exemption from the minimum way. Finally, you don't know what the heck you are posting about, and you are a big idiot. So, give it up.

Brad Vickery

To me this tax makes the relationship to health care more reasonable almost in the same liking as cigarettes do, or motorcycle helmet laws, but not quite. How do you differentiate between sun damage and Sun tan bed damage. I have never laid in a tanning bed and have over a hundred skin cancers removed (three melanomas included). People need to wake up to silent killers and exposure to certain behavior. That doesn't mean we need bigger government and higher taxes. The real blow here to me is what does a real estate of 3.8% have to do with health care? This just isn't a good bill and certainly not a race card issue. It does impose on freedom. We do need some health care reform to counter health industry glitches & greed but this swings way to the side of socialism.


Can we say "RACIST"?

How many black people go to tanning salons?

White people go to tanning salons to try and get some of the natural protection that blacks are born with.

This tax is a tax that will definately effect whites more than it will blacks - RACIST.


There are so few news reporters that have the ability to do investigative research anymore. The other side of the coin is people BELIEVE everything they print and take it as gospel.

Of interest....The Medical Physicians fought to get THEMSELVES exempted from paying the 10% Tanning Tax on the tanning they use in their practices and WON.

What they are SAYING is; Tanning and UV HAS health and medical benefits so WE should be exempt from the tax based on that.... Because we are Doctors using them for health reasons as opposed to tanning salons it MUST be different.

Yes, Doctors charge $100 plus dollars for a "Tan" and would love nothing more than to have ALL your UV business. And by the way..thanks for pulling out the 5% cosmetic surgery tax out for us too. Thanks for protecting US wealthy again.

You draw your own conclusions....and please learn to research and question BOTH sides instead of repeating from the AP.


Patt...why don't you take a peek at the Health Care Reform bill section on this tax and see for yourself that medical Doctors got themselves exempt cause tanning beds are used for health and medical benefits......

WAIT!!!.....what were your smug and transparently one-sided slanted words?.......

"There is, as you will NOT be surprised to learn," ...........

an actual Health Care Reform document that you should perhaps READ....it is called, "Doing your Homework."


I find it funny that this writer being from L.A (which is practically bankrupt) would decide to indorse a tax that is number one sexist (80% of all tanning salons are owned and operated by women) but this tax is going to put a massive amount of businesses OUT of business, because apparently in California no one needs a job. Further more, over 50% of all tanners do so because they have skin ailments (eczema) and deadly vitamin D deficiencies. Not to mention there is an undeniable link between autism and the lack of sunlight women are receiving in a vital stage of pregnancy.

Good for you editor- Incredible loss of jobs, state revenue, and increasing the risk of skin cancer by extremely fair people, NOT getting a base tan in a regulated tanning bed, and burning in the cancun sun
What an idiot...



Hey tanning does help some ppl with seasonal depression so...Yes it may not be good for you but within moderation indoor tanning is ok.



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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