NEW YORK, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ --The United States Senate is about to consider health system reform legislation which contains a 5% tax on cosmetic surgery deemed unnecessary for medical purposes. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) announces it strongly opposes the inclusion of this tax as it is discriminatory and has already failed in other states.
If passed into law, the tax will go into effect on January 1, 2010, in hopes of generating $5.8 billion over the next 10 years to help fund the $849 billion health care plan. The law defines cosmetic surgery as "any procedure which is directed at improving the patient's appearance and does not meaningfully promote the proper function of the body or prevent or treat illness or disease."
The proposal further stipulates that if a patient declines to pay the increase when initially billed for their surgery, the physician is entirely liable for all charges.
Various experts declare this tax would be discriminatory against women, noting that 86 percent of patients are working middle class woman. Plastic surgery is no longer considered a luxury for the wealthy, as 60% of respondents reported a household income of $30,000-$90,000 a year. Breaking down this data further, 40% of the 60% reported an income of $30,000-$60,000.
"The bill claims to not tax reconstructive surgery, however, in many cases there is thin line that separates 'cosmetic' from 'reconstructive'," states Daniel E. Rousso, M.D., president of the AAFPRS.
Several states have already tried to impose taxes on cosmetic surgery, including New Jersey which currently has a 6% tax on cosmetic surgery. Since New Jersey adopted the tax on elective medical procedures in 2004, the Department of Taxation has experienced a 59% shortfall based on projected revenue estimates. In fact, New Jersey Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, the sponsor of the 2004 bill, is leading efforts to repeal the tax. Eight other states have considered cosmetic taxes and have rejected them.
About The AAFPRS
The AAFPRS is the world's largest association of facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons with more than 2,800 members -- whose cosmetic reconstructive surgery focuses on the face, head and neck. Academy fellows are board-certified and subscribe to a code of ethics. In addition, the AAFPRS provides consumers with free information and brochures and a list of qualified facial plastic surgeons in their area by visiting the AAFPRS web site, www.facemd.org.
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