Friday, February 25, 2011

The tanning bed police - protecting you from yourself

Yesterday I posted about a new law Rep. Courtney Combs has introduced, H.B. 119, that would require a doctor's permission for anyone under 18 to tan. Ohio law already requires parental permission, but this law would eliminate the parent's role and turn it over to a doctor.

My friend and fellow blogger Matt Hurley, Weapons of Mass Discussion, linked to my post on his Facebook page and here is the discussion that ensued.

Rachel Mullen Manias: My 11 year old is drinking coffee right now for a migraine. Should I have gotten a doctor's note first?

Matt Hurley: That sounds like a question for State Rep. Combs. His office number is (614) 644-6721. :)

Rachel Mullen Manias: So are the tanning salons going to have to file claims with insurance companies? What a tremendous amount of regulation for generally family owned business.
I am very disturbed by this bill.

Maggie Thurber: Great question Rachel!!! Those unintended consequences strike again.

Rachel Mullen Manias: So I called and the Aide told me that I can give my daughter coffee for a migraine. He also said that if you can afford a tan you can afford a doctor's visit.

Rachel Mullen Manias: So I called back. It wouldn't be a prescription so there would be no claim to process. Just authorization that the tanning salon would keep on file.
Oh and if I have a tanning bed in my own home I still need a doctor's note. I wonder who would be knocking on my door to verify that.

Matt Hurley: Did you get that guy's name?

Maggie Thurber: Rachel - that's hilarious! My doctor's co-pay is $20 for an office visit. A tan costs $7. But I suppose the aide completely missed the whole 'who gets to be parent - you or the nanny state' sarcasm of your question. lol

Matt Hurley: The Tanning Bed Police. A division of the Ohio Highway Patrol. To Protect and Serve.

I wonder if Rep. Combs has thought this through in terms of a doctor's order. Why wouldn't the order then be subject to medical reimbursement claims? If, as some people claim, there is a 'right' to health care, does it naturally follow that there is a 'right' to tan, if a doctor must order it? If this law is passed, how soon will it be before states are paying for tanning for medicaid/medicare recipients?

What about the office visit? I know my cost to visit the doctor is only a $20 co-pay, but the insurance company pays the rest of it. How will insurance companies like having to pay for an office visit so some parent can get a permission note for their kid to tan?!? What is THAT going to do to insurance rates?

And why stop at children? If it's bad for you, it's bad for you so perhaps the state ought to require a doctor's permission for everyone. But maybe they won't go that far - especially since that might reduce the number of tanning visits people make and that would hurt the state coffers, considering they're now collecting tax on such 'services.'

This is a ridiculous piece of legislation that isn't going to do anything to reduce skin cancer rates. Maybe our legislators should stop promoting these kinds of feel-good/sound-good bills that do nothing but add to our costs and, instead, focus on ways to address the state's estimate $8 billion budget deficit.

As I said originally...I can hope.


skeeter1107 said...

I'm very much against "Blue Ribbon" committees or "Commissions" to review governmental actions. But you know, this time I might be willing to expand government.

How about a "Blue Ribbon Commission" to review and stop impressively stupid legislation. A group of adults that wouldn't allow any stupid piece of legislation that imposes government oversight of people's lives. Things like this should never see the light of day.

So if this state legislator wants to get a note for something. She could get a note that says "take this piece of crap to your doctor and see how they feel about it."

I feel better now. Thanks for letting me air that out.

-Sepp said...

I told my kids to go outside and play in the sunshine...without asking permission first from the govt!
I'm such a rebel!

Timothy W Higgins said...


I find the concept of legislating the use of tanning beds typical of government in a ready, fire, aim mentality.

It brings to mind a potential relocation to Vancouver, WA; where I was fascinated to find tanning beds at each of the apartment complexes I was looking at. Questioning revealed that local govt encouraged their use, since the constant cloudy conditions around Portland caused depression, and the tanning beds were used as a form of non-prescriptive treatment.

I seem to recall that winters in OH are similarly blessed with many cloudy days. Rather than restricting their use, perhaps Rep Combs should not only be encouraging it; but partaking of it to relieve what may be her own condition.

Maggie Thurber said...

just an fyi...

Courtney Combs is a man.

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