Proposed Plastic Surgery Tax Cut from Senate Health Care Reform Bill
A proposal to add a 5 percent federal tax to the cost of elective plastic surgery was cut from the Senate health care reform bill, replaced by a 10 percent tax on tanning salon procedures. Plastic surgeon groups, the American Medical Association (AMA), and the makers of BOTOX® Cosmetic were pleased with the change; the Indoor Tanning Association (ITA) was not.
When the plastic surgery tax was proposed, it quickly became known as the "Bo-tax," after BOTOX® Cosmetic, the popular injectable treatment used to relax facial lines. Allegan, Inc., makers of BOTOX® products, launched a Web site dedicated to defeating the tax measure. Lobbyists for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, and the American Medical Association joined the assault.
Dan Humiston, president of the ITA, representing about 20,000 tanning salons in the U.S., said the tax on his members' businesses would be a hardship. He said his group is too small to take on the plastic surgery industry.
ASPS spokesmen characterized the proposed plastic surgery tax as gender discrimination, based on the fact that 85 percent of patients are women, and argued that it would not be just a tax on the wealthy, citing data that show the majority of patients are middle class.
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