THE BLOG

Health Care Reform Fun Facts: the Tan Tax

05/25/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

When I blogged about the 10% tanning salon tax on the Los Angeles Times site a few days ago, I just thought of it as one of the many engaging nuggets we'll be mining out of the health care bill for some time yet.

Indoor tanning services will have to charge that additional tax. Here in California, we've been talking about taxing all services, from lawyers' fees to manicures, which presumably includes tanning, although given that in these parts, it's copious and free outdoors, so I would expect Golden Staters would flock to that alternative.

Tanning is certainly a health issue; 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.

I'd rather regard it as striking a blow for solar power, but the comments in response to my earlier blog have been astonishing. One reader called it a ''tax whitey'' scheme [because those of darker skin don't go in for tanning]. And here I thought of it more as a ''tax melanoma'' idea.

Other commenters have exchanged some pretty hostile crossfire, and dragged in the tuna industry, a show called ``Jersey Shore,'' and Nancy Pelosi.

Maybe, in this moment when faxed nooses, voice mail death threats, and spitting and slurs are some sorry righties' notion of political discourse, I should only be surprised that I am surprised.