Anyone who watches the news these days certainly knows about the raging debate in Washington on overhauling the nation’s health care debate. To cover that debate here would be a tremendous undertaking.
This far reaching legislation will affect the plastic and cosmetic surgery field if a proposed ‘Botax’, a 5% tax on all elective plastic surgery procedures. To put that into perspective, an average breast augmentation at our Florida plastic surgery center costs around $3350 – take 5% of that and you get an additional cost of $167.50.
Many plastic surgeons, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Medical Association and the National Organization for Women oppose this tax proposal on the grounds that it’s discriminatory against women. Such a tax would put an unfair burden on women and we agree.
One of the most rewarding things about our profession is the fact that more women are able to afford plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures that help change their lives for the better. When our industry was in its early stages, only the wealthy could afford these procedures.
Supporters of the tax contend that if someone can afford a plastic surgery procedure like a Tummy Tuck, they should be able to afford a 5% tax to help poor people pay for healthcare.
We don’t agree and besides we have an idea of how this will work already. New Jersey instituted a 6% tax in 2004 just to see it only collect about ½ the projected revenues. The state’s legislator repealed the tax in 2007 but it was vetoed.
At any rate, the Senate is nearing its vote and is expected to pass its version of the healthcare overhaul legislation, whose version includes this tax. The House’s bill, passed on November 7th does not. Both chambers will have to reconcile their bills in a conference committee that will take place in January, vote again on the compromise legislation and send it to the President for his signature.
It’s up in the air as to whether this tax will make it into the final bill, whenever that comes but we will keep a careful eye on it and let you know how healthcare overhaul will affect the plastic surgery profession in America.
P.S. – We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!