An unexpected controversy recently developed in the U. S. Senate when one of the provisions included in the Senate version of the health care reform bill was a 5% tax on all cosmetic surgery procedures. This tax does not reflect any of President Obama's goals in health care reform of providing affordable insurance or lowering the cost of health care. Instead it provides a back door maneuver to subsidize a plan that our country cannot afford on the backs of a targeted group: middle class women.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons estimates that 60% of cosmetic surgery patients earn between $30,000 and $90,000 a year, clearly placing them in the middle class. Therefore, the idea that this is a luxury tax being imposed upon the rich is incorrect. The Senate is trying to push cosmetic surgery into the same "sin tax" category occupied by cigarettes and alcohol. They are punishing hard working people who are considering cosmetic surgery to improve their self-image and self-esteem.
Any tax on cosmetic plastic surgery would be discriminatory. An estimated 90% of cosmetic plastic surgery patients are women, most of whom are trying to improve their appearance and self-image through procedures like breast augmentation, liposuction and tummy tuck. This statistic could not have gone unnoticed by our lawmakers. It would be hard to find another piece of legislation that so clearly targets and discriminates against women. We can only hope that the organized groups who claim to represent the rights of women will not let this go unchallenged.
Several years a cosmetic plastic surgery tax became law in New Jersey. The actual revenue collected fell 60% short of the original estimates, and the enforcement was expensive and problematic. The original sponsor of the bill publicly admitted that it was a mistake and asked that it be repealed. Haven't we learned anything form our past mistakes?
The only way to stop this unfair tax proposal is to let your Senator and Congressman know how you feel. I strongly encourage you to visit the webiste www.stopcosmetictax.org where your can write to your local lawmakers and let them know you are against this type of discrimination.