Tanning Salon Owners Say Obamacare Is Destroying Their Business

Tanning isn’t an American right, unless you’re in New Jersey probably, but it’s still shitty that most salon owners are saying Obamacare is destroying the tanning industry. Of all the things. According to the Associated Press, around 10,000 of the more than 18,000 tanning salons (doesn’t it seem like there should be more?) in the U.S. have shut down due to a 10 percent tax in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Economists and experts say it’s not the just the tax’s fault, and the industry was on decline for some time, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears be damned.

The tax was supposed to raise about $2.7 billion for health care reform over 10 years, but it hasn’t really done that either. So, everyone is sort of left with their hands out asking for more. I mean, it makes sense to tax the tanning industry, just like we tax cigarettes and booze and other things that are bad for us, because tanning is dangerous. It causes skin cancer — skin cancer that is widely treatable, but still pretty fucking bad. And expensive. So the idea is that the tanning industry pays for reform now because one day, that reform is supposed to benefit those who still use tanning beds.

In recent years, there have been lots of public heath warnings and even the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that indoor tanning is not safe. Both outdoor and indoor tanning expose your skin to U.V. rays and those are always bad. Timer or not, someone can still get burned from a tanning bed, and it’s not even a safe way to get vitamin D, according to the CDC. I’m a whore for the sun, so I will never judge anyone for paying for a base tan (unless it turns orange, because come on people), but it looks like the taxes built into the ACA are doing what they were meant to do.

Of course, the fact that the ACA is working is already pretty politicized. Chris Sternberg, senior vice president of Sun Tan City, a Kentucky-based chain with nearly 300 salons in 22 states, told the AP, “When I go to vote, I’m supporting candidates who are pro-business and who want less government involvement, less government regulation.” No one wants to put businesses out of, well, business, but tanning is not the greatest business. If there were more demand for tanning beds and less information on its risks, maybe the shops could pony up that 10 percent tax.

It’s not Obama that killed the tanning industry — people are just starting to wise up.