Cosmetic Tax? - - No One Gets You Closer

Cosmetic Tax?


A proposed 5% tax on cosmetic procedures has shown up for a second time in the Senate's version of the healthcare bill.  The tax has many people angry claiming its unfair and discriminatory against women.

The tax on "vanity" procedures like botox, breast implants and even teeth whitening (it does exclude reconstructive surgeries).  Just one problem with the tax?  It seems to target women.  P.T. Swamy, an M.D. at Swamy Clinic in Sherman says, "90% of cosmetic surgery is woman.  If I were a woman, I would write my congressman and oppose the tax because it is unfairly taxing women."  Shonda Ogle, a patient at the Swamy Clinic felt the same.  "I am a stay at home mom with four children.  I feel like I deserve to do a little something for myself.  I don't think I should be taxed because of it." 

Another problem, patient confidentiality.  The new tax means the government would be allowed to view patients records.  "When they come in to survey how many cosmetic procedures I do, they are going to go through patients records," says a concerned Dr. Swamy.

The extra tax plus lack of confidentiality can be a deal breaker for those considering any procedure. 

So is this just another tax on the wealthy?  Not so much.  Most woman patients make up the middle class, averaging a yearly salary of $30,000 to $90,000, which means many of the women coming into Swamy Clinic save for 2 to 3 years depending on the procedure.  "For someone who has been saving for 2 or 3 years, a 5% tax is a needless penalty.  Also, why target a small group of people?  That is unfair", says Dr. Swamy.

Although this "vanity" or "sin" tax has shown up twice in the Senate version of the health reform bill, it is not likely you will see it in the house version anytime soon. 

The Senate first proposed this tax back in July, but it was dropped from the house version.  The Senates argument for the  bill?  They say it will help pay back the 3-trillion dollars of debt the health reform bill will cause by raising $5,000,000,000 over the next decade.  As of now, the House is not considering it.

Christina Lusby, Reports.