Cosmetic Surgery Tax: Paying More to Look Good!

The US Senate Finance Committee is considering a 10% tax on cosmetic surgery.   The hope is to fund the State health care plan in part with an anticipated 1 billion dollars in additional revenue.   The anticipated collections are based on the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ estimate of 10.3 billion dollars having been spent on cosmetic surgery and cosmetic medicine in 2008.

I have expected this for years!   New Jersey tried a cosmetic surgery tax in 2004 but it fell short of expectations.   The tax was repealed in a later legislative session.   Minnesota already has a 2% tax on all medical care to fund Minnesota Care, a state provided medical plan care for the needy.  As countries look for new tax revenue, the government of India is considering a similar tax (   The tax will be extended to all direct patient pay medical services and third party (or insurance) reimbursed care outside the Federal plan mirroring the Minnesota model.

Many cosmetic medicine treatments are now delivered within med spa settings.   Even hair salons now offer Botox ® and other types of injections.   The idea of cosmetic treatment is much broader than one would first think.     Braces, teeth whitening, hair care, cosmetics, massages, nail care, hair waxing, and tanning are all services and products which are part of the cosmetic enhancement realm.     As the deficit continues to grow and looms ever larger, a strong argument can and will be made to include these services, as well.  It is a slippery slope!



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