Friday, November 20, 2009

Cosmetic Surgery Tax Back on the Health Care Bill?

All the way back in July, there was some media hysteria about a 10% cosmetic surgery tax that was mentioned by a Treasury official. As we blogged back then, it was overblown because the Senate Finance Committee had never even discussed such a thing.

In Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's latest proposed healthcare reform bill, a 5% cosmetic surgery tax is being proposed.

From the Associated Press:

"At issue is a proposal in the 10-year, nearly $1 trillion health care draft unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that would slap a 5 percent excise tax on elective cosmetic surgeries and procedures. The plan, projected to raise $6 billion, wouldn't apply to surgery to fix a deformity or injury, but would include procedures such as face lifts, liposuction, cosmetic implants or teeth-whitening.

The plastic surgeons may have seemed like an appealing bunch to pick on given that they had already been skeptical of the Democrats' overhaul proposal. But they say it will be a blow to countless American women — of every income level.

"The common misconception is that this is going to tax wealthy, suburban Republican women," said Dr. Phil Haeck of Seattle, Wash., the president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In fact, he said, of the 86 percent of cosmetic surgery patients who are female, 60 percent of them have incomes between $30,000 and $90,000."

It has also proven to be inefficient for the government to collect on cosmetic surgery tax. It is alleged that in New Jersey, where a similar tax is in effect, it costs the state $3.39 for every $1 that is collected.

Whether or not the bill passes, there is probably going to be somewhat of a rush to plan cosmetic procedures before an extra 5% is added onto the bill.

Dr. David J. Goldberg
Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center, Boca Raton
Skin Laser Surgery Specialists of NY/NJ

Dr. Jason Pozner
Sanctuary Medical Aesthetic Center, Boca Raton
Sanctuary Plastic Surgery, Boca Raton

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