Want to look younger? Forget the tanning bed; get those Botox injections instead.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, under pressure from doctors, has inserted a little noticed provision in his “manager’s amendent” to the health care bill that kills the Botax and enacts a new Tantax.
“The 5 percent excise tax on cosmetic surgery was eliminated, and a 10 percent excise tax on indoor tanning services was added,” the Congressional Budget Office said on Saturday as it issued a favorable review of the amendment.
From the Majority Leader’s amendment: “IN GENERAL.—The term indoor tanning service means a service employing any electronic product designed to incorporate 1 or more ultraviolet lamps and intended for the irradiation of an individual by ultraviolet radiation, with wavelengths in air between 200 and 400 nanometers, to induce skin tanning.”
The sudden alteration to the bill is considered a win the American Medical Association, which declared the Botax to be discriminatory against women. Allergan Inc., maker of Botox, embarked on a milti-pronged lobbying campaign, setting up a web site and waging dual campaigns on Twitter and Facebook.
The change could cost billions of dollars. The revenue that would have been generated from the tax on cosmetic surgery, estimated at $5 billion, far exceeds the $2.7 billion expected to be collected from the Tantax.
And in an odd way, the change would be a boon for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a costly punishment for House Republican Leader John Boehner.
The perpetually tanned Boehner — who President Obama joked at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner is “a person of color, although not a color that appears in the natural world” — had no immediate comment on the new provision. But Boehner, who denys he bed tans, did this in a Saturday statement: “Now is the time to speak out, more loudly and clearly than ever, against this monstrosity,” which may have been directed at the new Tantax.
The 69-year-old Pelosi, reportedly a big fan of plastic surgery and Botox who, like Dorian Gray, looks younger and younger each year, issued no statement on the death of the Botax. Oh, and she doesn’t use Botox (she says).