Cosmetic Surgery Tax

Just in case you haven’t yet raised your objections to your elected officials about the proposed 5% “Botax”, which was inserted into the proposed national health legislation, we have a couple of easy ideas for to help you respond, assuming you wish to.

Allergan has taken the bull by the horns and, in cooperation with many medical associations, has created a website called Stop Cosmetic Tax ( If you go there, you’ll be given a plethora of good reasons to raise a ruckus about this, and some ways to voice your disagreement, including signing your name to a petition and a pre-written email form that can be used to notify your appropriate representatives in Congress.

If you’ve been too busy to get the whole picture as to why this tax is a bad idea (in addition to its potential effects on your pocketbook), here are some of the reasons this tax should not be allowed as part of the proposed legislation:

* The tax unfairly targets both the middle class and, particularly, middle-class women. An ASPS study shows the average income of female prospective plastic surgery patients is between $30K and $90K per year. Didn’t our Prez say something about not raising taxes on anybody making less than $250K a year?
* This “sin tax” plops cosmetic enhancements into the same bucket as cigarettes and alcohol. Funny that Viagra won’t be taxed…
* The tax has nothing to do with the purposes of health reform, such as reducing health insurance premiums, creating better access to health care or making health care more affordable in general.
* Your plastic surgeon will get to become a tax collector.
* Your plastic surgeon will have to decide if a procedure is “cosmetic” for one patient but “reconstructive” for another. If he or she makes a judgement other than what a government employee thinks, will the Feds send the IRS to your physician’s office and violate patient/doctor privilege by snooping through your records to find out if you too should owe tax? The line between aesthetics and therapeutic/reconstruction isn’t always clear–ie, breast reductions will be deemed cosmetic under this tax, as will otoplasties on little kids who suffer when schoolmates call them “Dumbo” at school. Best yet, if a patient gets a bad cosmetic result somewhere and goes elsewhere to fix it, s/he will have to pay the tax all over again.
* It will discourage research and innovation. Instead of paying scientists to create new and better technologies and spending time on clinical trials, cosmetic device and drug manufacturers may just search for a way to avoid the drug approval process altogether, selling an unregulated product with little or no safety data.
* More consumers will seek treatment by unlicensed practitioners to avoid paying the tax. This means more of them will cross the border and the oceans for cosmetic procedures, and the potential for the unlicensed to provide treatments will skyrocket.

SO, if you haven’t done anything yet, please consider doing the following:

1. Voice your objections to your own elected representatives. Call them both at their Washington DC offices and their local offices. As a voter and taxpayer, you carry alot of gravitas. If you don’t know who your representatives and senators are, go to this link, put in your zip code and their names and contact information will pop up.
2. Go to the website mentioned above and learn more. Then sign the petition there.
3. Send an e-blast immediately to your friends and get them to do both of the above. If you don’t tell them how to protest, they won’t!! We all think “somebody else” is gonna do it. What if they don’t??

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