Facing mounting federal deficit and an expensive health care reform bill, you
wouldn't be blaming Congress for trying to squeeze a few billion dollars here and there to pay for it. But the cosmetic surgery industry is howling at the new proposed ... "Botax"?!
Last week, the Senate began debate on an $848 billion health care reform bill that includes a 5% excise tax on elective cosmetic surgery, beginning Jan. 1, 2010. The provision would raise an estimated $5.8 billion in the next decade.
The cosmetic surgery industry has mounted a vigorous effort to convince lawmakers and the public that the tax wouldn't be limited to wealthy people who are unhappy with the shape of their chins. Among their arguments:
The tax would unfairly target middle-class women. Eighty-six percent of cosmetic surgery patients are women, and 60% have an annual income of $30,000 to $90,000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Women face much more pressure than men to maintain a youthful appearance, says Jill Filipovic, 26, a lawyer and blogger in New York. "It's an easy choice for senators who are overwhelmingly male to tax something they probably aren't going to use," she says.