Botax: Congress Thinking About Taxing Elective Cosmetic Surgery

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.


ELECTIVE surgery here, people. ELECTIVE.

Maybe all those poor doctors and nurses who aren't doing as many liposuctions could work to help sick people?
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"The tax would unfairly target middle-class women."

Hmmm. I never really thought of elective surgery and botox, etc. as a "middle-class" expense, more upper class. But they referenced pretty wide demographic there.

I can safely say, as an impoverished college student, botox is not on my "please tax me" list >.>
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well, sure, elective is how it begins. And then, a little expansion here, there, it becomes all cosmetic surgery, including reconstructive.

That's government for you, butting in where it has no authority to do so, taxing what moves until it stops, funding that which has stopped.

Another possible outcome is that the tax diminishes the number of surgeries performed, so the expected fundraise is lower than predicted, causing Congress to increase the tax more, diminishing the surgeries undertaken again.
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Yeah, Lea, apparently the most frequent patrons of cosmetic surgery are middle class white women.

I don't think it's unfair at all. Cosmetic surgery, unless you've had your nose cut off or been otherwise maimed by accident or assault, is an indulgence. Whether it's inspired by a society that inordinately values youth is irrelevant. You don't change a sexist society by pretending that everything women do is somehow sacrosanct, especially when the people who suffer most from a lack of health care are poor, non-white women.

I say it's a small price to pay for health care, especially when sudden illness can be the difference between being middle class and living beneath the poverty line.

Thought I disagree with those who suggest this would somehow encourage the use cosmetic surgery. We tax booze and cigarettes and the government does nothing to encourage the use of either.
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Cola: Re: taxing cigarettes: this is worse in that the S-CHIP expansion is paid in part by an increase on tobacco tax yet in the TARP legislation, millions of dollars are to be spent in getting people to stop using tobacco. Government intelligence indeed.

$5.8 billion in taxes from botox? At least half of the will come from Nancy Pelosi, won't it?

I say keep the Feds out of healthcare and make it easier and more competitive to buy health insurance, as well as tort reform.
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Ok, next up, eating is elective, so we now impose a 20% tax on all food sold in the country in order to help pay for sick people. Then clothing, then we have a straight up national sales tax, then a second income tax.

All because government healthcare is a boondoggle that will balloon to ten times the expected cost within a decade, just like Medicare did, all while providing inferior service, leaving long wait times, and creating ample opportunity for unchecked fraud, just like Medicare. Thanks .gov! Maybe next time you should leave it to .com and .org?
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"It’s an easy choice for senators who are overwhelmingly male to tax something they probably aren’t going to use"

I bet there is some women front surgery that they'd like to use ;p
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As a middle class white woman who uses botox, I work extra hard to pay for my treatments because the results mean a lot to me. Perhaps that can be considered a sin or luxury to be taxed. If that is the case, where is the proposed Viagra tax?
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