Thursday, November 19, 2009

American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Opposes Cosmetic Surgery Tax

/PRNewswire/ -- As negotiators on Capitol Hill try to find ways to fund a health care overhaul, a 5% tax on cosmetic surgery has been introduced on Nov. 18 as part of the Senate's proposed health reform bill, introduced by US Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery strongly opposes such taxes and urges legislators to consider the following points:

-- A tax on elective cosmetic procedures is an unreliable, risky revenue
source that has no proven record of raising projected revenues.
-- The difficulty of defining elective vs. medically-necessary cosmetic
surgery. There is a blurry line between what procedures are considered
medically-necessary and those that are elective.
-- Retention of highly-skilled physicians is at risk. Physicians face
many challenges in operating their practices on a day-to-day basis.
Turning them into tax-collectors is an additional burden on these
-- Cosmetic surgery is not a specialty for only the wealthy or the vain.
In fact, the median income for those electing to have cosmetic surgery
is dropping.
-- Despite the fact that more men are seeking cosmetic procedures than
ever, the largest portion of patients are still working women, who
would be unfairly targeted by such taxes.
-- A large portion of those being taxed would be the baby-boomer
generation. And as this age group continues to age, the more interest
will be generated in cosmetic procedures. It is important to note that
the age bracket are most likely to vote in elections is the same as
those who are electing to have cosmetic procedures.

"Activating a cosmetic surgery tax is not the solution to funding a health care overhaul," states AACS Immediate Past President Dr. Steven Hopping. "While it appears that this is currently a serious consideration, this idea concerns us."

Such a tax has been proposed in numerous states over the years and rejected after examining the feasibility. The only state to approve such a tax has been New Jersey, which has failed to realize proposed profits from the bill and faces opposition from the same legislators who approved it in the first place.

"Implementing such a bill would be a bad idea for patients and physicians," Hopping said.

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