Taxes On Cosmetic Surgery Target Women

by Intern Stephanie V.



 How would you feel if you were going for a surgical procedure and had to pay taxes on it? It may just be the case. This issue is stirring up in the media with supporters and protestors alike. The subject with taxes on elective surgeries are included in a provision in the Senate Health Care bill. (You may have heard of this referred to as the “Bo-tax.”)

So, what’s the deal? The bill includes a 5% tax on these elective procedures. A shot of Botox runs about $500, you’re looking at a $25 fee. (Other elective surgeries such as rhinoplasty and breast augmentation run a higher gamut). Now, in theory, that doesn’t sound too bad. However, most patients that elect to get cosmetic surgeries are women. and ABC News both report an interesting statistic in concerns with plastic surgery and women:”86 percent of cosmetic surgery patients are working women between the ages of 35 and 50, with an average income of $55,000 a year.” 

Considering double standards on youth and beauty, where is the line drawn? I am not saying that this applies to women only – men do elect to have these procedures as well. Moving on from this, what may  be considered “elective” can change. What falls under this umbrella? Vision correction? Braces? 

Continuing with ABC’s this bill could be changed: “They’re trying to say they’re going to tax cosmetic, and not tax reconstructive surgery, but the way it’s written, it’s leaving itself wide open,” said Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of bariatric surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Besides having a wide gap for interpretation, many health insurance companies today do not cover many elective procedures thus with the addition of taxes, make the out-of-pocket expense much higher. Many of us are divided on the issue of elective surgeries. I believe it’s a personal choice and have a few family members that have used a variety of procedures. Whether your stance on the issue of using Botox or another cosmetic entity, is it something that should be taxed?


Image courtesy of Amit Bhawani.


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