Friday, July 31, 2009

Vanity Tax???

I don't know if you read about this topic in the news this week, but it was a hot topic on Tuesday! As we all are well aware the nations health care system is in dire need of reform and cannot continue to support the needs of the American community. Health care costs are on the rise and doctors and patients alike are feeling the pains of the skyrocketing expense. President Obama brought this issue to the forefront of his campaign and is trying to develop a strategy to bring this deficit into prospective. One of the "ideas" presented this week was a new tax on Botox and other plastic surgery procedures. The concept is to place a 10% tax on cosmetic procedures like breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, injectables, and other aesthetic surgeries. The money generated would be put towards the $1 trillion dollar health care overhaul. Many in congress have compared this tax to the "sin tax" that is put on cigarettes and alcohol. I feel there are many, many conflicting issues with this proposal. First, and in my opinion the most obvious, is lumping plastic surgery services into the same boat with cigarette usage is absolutely ridiculous. It is well known that cigarettes not just CAN but WILL lead to many forms of cancer and possible death. The strain that cigarette users put on the health care system is also extremely large in comparison to plastic surgery patients. Speaking in general terms, everyone knows plastic surgery does not have the same end as cigarettes. To insinuate such a thing is just beyond silly.

In the past couple of years the issue of how much say into moral issues the government should or should not have has been a HOT button for most. I find it interesting that it seems the public figures who were very out spoken about how important to separate the two are now making a judgement call on the "moral" issue of the necessity of plastic surgery. I wish some of these elected officials could come and sit in Dr. Walden's office and tell the child with large ears that has been ridiculed at school all his/her life that otoplasty is not "necessary" or "needed". For some patients that extra 10% could make or break the final decision to have a much wanted and/or needed procedure. In addition, are you just going to group women who want breast augmentation and women who need breast reductions all together?? Insurance will likely pay for a breast reduction and would consider it medically necessary. It is well known that plastic surgery patients are mostly women, so this will end up being very discriminatory move toward women. I think one of the largest misconceptions about plastic surgery is that it is only the "ultra rich" that undergo these procedures. This generality couldn't be further from the truth. The plastic surgery patients of today consist of middle class women from the age of 23-65. These women work very hard and save for quite a long time to be able to have these procedures. These are the woman who will bear the weight of such a decision.

This tax was put into place in New Jersey a few years back and has been a major disappointment. Patients simply got in their cars or on a train to Manhattan to have their surgeries tax free in New York. With the ongoing popularity of having plastic surgery abroad this trend will continue to inflate and take much needed revenue away from the United States. In addition to loss of revenue, there will be a rise in plastic surgery related complications, due to the lower standards in medical care seen in some foreign countries. My hope is that this plan will be seen for what it is, just a bad idea all the way around. Remember you ALWAYS have a say in how YOUR government runs the country. If this issue moves toward a reality, call your local representatives and voice your opinion!

Dr. Walden was asked to discuss this issue with Fox News' own Neil Cavuto. Check out the video below for the entire interview!! This is one video you won't want to miss!!

Happy Friday!

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