KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Tax On Sugared Drinks Loses Appeal, Tanning Salons Still Fighting

Los Angeles Times: "Only months ago, supporters of the soda tax saw it as an idea whose hour was near. The sheer magnitude of the medical cost of obesity added urgency to the issue ... But opponents questioned any link between sugary drinks and obesity, and expressed concern about a slippery slope of taxes on other products. Proponents, meanwhile, thought a tax that drove down consumption while raising money for health care seemed like a natural with Democrats controlling Congress." But, the Obama White House has now rejected the idea, a congressional committee that once embraced it has refused to bring it to the table, and some interest groups -- having received support from the soft drink industry -- oppose it, even as they campaign against obesity (Hamburger and Geiger, 2/8).

Meanwhile, tanning salon representatives continue to fight another proposed tax in the Senate's health bill - a 10 percent surcharge on tanning bed use - arguing that it "is an example of political wrangling at its worst," The (New Jersey) Star-Ledger reports. "The tan tax replaces the earlier 'Botax' - a proposed 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic surgery procedures - and is expected to raise $2.7 billion over 10 years to help subsidize health care coverage for millions of uninsured Americans. ... In December, the American Academy of Dermatology Association -- after much lobbying help from plastic surgeons, dermatologists and the cosmeceutical industry -- persuaded Senate Democratic leaders to swap out the Botax for the tan tax, citing health risks associated with cosmetic tanning" (Kwoh, 2/7). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.