Rep. Ted Yoho, the freshman congressman representing Florida, recently told a crowd that the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare, includes a “racist tax” on tanning beds, apparently because of some alleged unfair burden placed on white people. According to the People for the American Way blog, which monitors the activities of conservatives, Rep. Yoho discussed the Jim Crow poll tax on tanning with House Speaker John Boehner, and said the Speaker agreed with him. The Beltway blog Roll Call unsuccessfully tried to get a comment from Boehner in response. The meme started with Glenn Beck years ago, and Rep. Yoho seems to have resurrected it.
Rep. Yoho said that since his dark-skinned Indian doctor said he has “no need” to use a tanning salon, that “therefore it’s a racist tax, and I thought I might need to get to a sun tanning booth so I can come out and say I’ve been disenfranchised because I got taxed because of the color of my skin.”
Laugh at that, but the right-wing never ending attack against Obamacare is no laughing matter, though. Before Congress went to recess last week, the House passed a bill that would strip the IRS of any power to implement Obamacare’s provisions — the IRS is the primary agency responsible for carrying out the tax provisions in the Affordable Care Act. Though it carries no weight without the Senate, which will not pass it, it was the 40th bill the House passed to try to overturn Obamacare.
Listen to Yoho’s comments here:
UPDATE: Sarah Kliff over at The Washington Post (which was just sold to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for $250 million) adds some additional context for the “racist” tanning tax: “Get behind the headlines though, and the tanning tax actually proves a relatively vexing health law provision to implement. Its only a few pages in the health care law and is expected to raise $21 billion in revenue. That’s not nothing but, in a law that costs $1.3 trillion - that is about as close to nothing as you get.”