Botox, facelifts may cost more as Senate eyes cosmetic surgery tax

by Sandra Block ,  US Today | 2009-12-21

If you're considering an eyelift or tummy tuck, you might want to have it done before next year.

Last week, the Senate began debate on an $848 billion health care reform bill that includes a 5% excise tax on elective cosmetic surgery, beginning Jan. 1, 2010. The provision would raise an estimated $5.8 billion in the next decade.

The cosmetic surgery industry has mounted a vigorous effort to convince lawmakers and the public that the tax wouldn't be limited to wealthy people who are unhappy with the shape of their chins. Among their arguments:

•The tax would unfairly target middle-class women. Eighty-six percent of cosmetic surgery patients are women, and 60% have an annual income of $30,000 to $90,000, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Women face much more pressure than men to maintain a youthful appearance, says Jill Filipovic, 26, a lawyer and blogger in New York. "It's an easy choice for senators who are overwhelmingly male to tax something they probably aren't going to use," she says.