Congress proposes "Bo-Tax" to pay for healthcare

By Christel Phillips - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - You can call it "Bo-tax". The U.S. Senate is looking to tax plastic surgery to help fund President Obama's trillion dollar healthcare reform.

"I think that like most additional expenses it will most likely impact the amount of cosmetic surgery that is done," said Dr. William Strinden.

Many plastic surgeons across the nation are opposed to the surgery tax. The Congress could add a 10% excise tax on cosmetic procedures that are not deemed medically necessary. So, patients seeking cosmetic surgery for breast enlargements, liposuction, and even nose jobs could see an extra 10% tacked onto their bill.

Some Lufkin plastic surgeons believe the proposed tax is based on the perception that only the rich and wealthy are having cosmetic procedures.

Dr. William G. Newton, with Angelina Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery explained.

"The average patient who has a cosmetic procedures makes about $50,000," said Newton.

Dr. William Strinden, of Lufkin Plastic Surgery agrees.

"They're just regular people," said Strinden. "The first question they ask when they call to make an appointment is, 'How much does it cost?' because they want to start saving money, and planning ahead."

Both Strinden and Newton say, the surgery tax would leave middle class Americans bearing the tax burden. It also would be discriminative against women between ages 19-64, who make up 86% of the total cosmetic surgery population.

The state of New Jersey is the only state that has implemented a cosmetic surgery tax. Legislators grossly over estimated potential revenue and underestimated the administrative burden to collect it.

Strinden and Newton hope Senate will come up with another plan to pay for healthcare reform.

"To put 10% extra onto a minuscule fraction will still produce you a very small amount of money," said Strinden.

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