Monday, November 30, 2009


According to the New York Times some in the plastic surgery industry are steamed over the Bo-Tax proposal that would levy a 5% tax on elective plastic surgery.

The tax, which would be paid by the customer but collected by doctors, would be levied on any cosmetic surgery that is not necessary to address deformities arising from congenital abnormalities, personal injuries resulting from an accident or trauma, or disfiguring diseases, a definition taken directly from current tax code covering deductible medical expenses.

One doctor cited the embarrassment often associated with plastic surgery as a reason few patients have come forward to oppose the bill:

“You’re taxing a disorganized group that has no one of its own representing it,” he said. “There’s no American Society of Plastic Surgery Patients.”

Dr. Teitelbaum said some patients might be embarrassed to admit to having had cosmetic surgery. “They don’t want to come out and march on Capitol Hill,” he said. “You’re not going to have a million-man Botox march.”

A slightly more effective argument (to my mind) is that this bill is discriminatory against women, who make up the majority of plastic surgery patients:

Terry O’Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women, said middle-age women, who make up a bulk of her group’s financers, would be particularly susceptible to the tax, especially now. Many who have lost jobs might be considering surgery, she said, because they are looking to impress potential employers.

“They have to find work,” Ms. O’Neill said. “And they are going for Botox or going for eye work, because the fact is we live in a society that punishes women for getting older.”

Ms. O’Neill said women commonly pay higher health insurance premiums and suffer wage discrepancies from men. “And now they are going to put a tax on middle-aged women in a society that devalues them for being middle aged?” she said.

Although I do find the argument effective, that more women will be paying this tax, I do not personally oppose this tax. The problem isn't the tax, its the unhealthy expectations of the unaging woman and that a woman's worth is bound up in her appearance, that's the primary problem with plastic surgery in general. I'm much more concerned with the lack of maternity care and the ability of insurance companies to charge women carte blanche more for health insurance than men--which a quality healthcare reform bill will stop and a reform bill that includes some additional levies is crucial to get there. So, what do you think readers? Am I being too harsh on plastic surgery & plastic surgery patients? What's your take?

1 comment:

  1. 1. Plastic Surgery is not cheap. So it you can afford the initial surgery you can afford the tax.
    2. The money a women saves for not getting the plastic surgery can be put towards her emergency fund until she finds a job based on ability and not looks.

    3. Unless you have a "sexy" job, botox or a boob job will not provide a great salary increase.

    4. Cosemtic surgery is a middle class problem. Workers at McDonalds and maids are not having this debate. They would like a discounted flu shot and a prescription for the bill. They don't need elective surgery referals.