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5 Arguments Against Elective Cosmetic Tax

taxing cosmetic surgeryThe elective cosmetic medical tax, that was dismissed by the Senate finance committee last July, is now back in the healthcare reform bill and could be implemented early next year.

Plastic surgeons around the United States have publicly opposed the bill, and groups such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have rallied their members to voice their opposition to the tax.

The following is a list of the 5 most pertinent objections to this proposed tax:

  1. Discriminates against women: given that women make up almost 90 percent of the cosmetic surgeries performed in the U.S., the tax would fall on them disproportionately.
  2. Taxes the middle class: No, cosmetic surgery is not a service purchased only by the rich and famous. The statistics show that most patients are working women with incomes anywhere from $30,000 – $90,000
  3. Proven ineffective: New Jersey attempted to implement a similar program in 2004 and fell very short of projected revenues.
  4. Difficult to administer: the tax imposes the burden of making clear distinctions between procedures that are medically necessary and simply elective. Who will make these distinctions and on what grounds?
  5. Could further stimulate risky medical tourism: Plastic surgeons in the U.S. make safety the number one priority. Keeping costs down (not adding taxes) should discourage people from seeking cosmetic surgery abroad.
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