Now that the holidays are over, the media is once again concentrating on the proposed congressional healthcare bill. One of the components of that bill is a federal surtax on cosmetic procedures—surgical and non-surgical. This is considered a “vanity tax” which allegedly will help to pay for insuring the uninsured. The perception is that only wealthy people go to plastic or cosmetic surgeons and thus it is their responsibility somehow to partially bear the burden of insuring the uninsured millions. However, information gathered by the American Society of Plastic Surgery has revealed that not only are 91% of cosmetic patients women, but that 60% of these women earn between $30,000-$90,000 yearly. The desire to look good and feel good about oneself is hardly limited to the wealthy upper classes. New procedures, especially non-surgical procedures such as Botox and fillers, fit the budgets of many individuals and cosmetic surgery patients no longer reflect only the rich and privileged in our country.
The Society is protesting this tax primarily on the basis that it singles out one demographic in our society and places an unfair tax burden on them. With much debate going on in Washington at the moment, we will not have to wait long to learn whether this “vanity tax” on cosmetic procedures will be included in the bill or not.