Nationwide Survey Shows Americans Oppose A Cosmetic Tax

WASHINGTON DC – A majority of Americans oppose the inclusion of a five percent tax on cosmetic medical procedures, according to a survey released today. Survey respondents oppose the cosmetic tax by a 52% – 43% margin.

According to the survey, a large majority of respondents, by a 64% – 34% margin, agree that the cosmetic medical procedures tax has no place in health care reform, since these procedures and treatments are not covered by health insurance and the tax will disproportionately impact middle class women.

“It is clear from these results that Americans disagree with this proposed tax,” said Michael McGuire, MD, President of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). “Taxing medical procedures sets a dangerous precedent by inviting the Internal Revenue Service into the physician-patient relationship, and allowing the government to make decisions regarding medical necessity.”

The tax on cosmetic medical procedures was not included in any of the five health reform bills developed and debated in Senate and House Committees. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it is projected to raise approximately $5.8 billion over ten years toward the $856 billion price tag for the proposed Senate health reform bill. However, a similar tax in New Jersey has realized less than one-third of the anticipated revenue and an independent audit of the New Jersey system found that it took $3.39 in expenditures just to collect a single dollar in tax — making a cosmetic tax not only a bad idea but an unreliable way to fund health reform.

According to the survey, there is no significant difference between men and women in their opposition to the proposed tax. On the other hand, respondents over the age of 45 are much more likely to oppose the tax, with opposition increasing among older respondents.

The survey further demonstrates that, by a 49% – 30% margin, respondents were more likely to oppose the tax once informed that sixty percent of all people planning to have cosmetic medical procedures report a household income of between $30,000 and $90,000.

“These numbers confirm what ASPS has been saying all along, that many people mistakenly believe that this is a luxury tax,” Dr. McGuire said. “But in fact, it is a tax on the middle class — despite President Obama‘s direct campaign promise not to raise taxes on this group of Americans.”

This survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation among a national probability sample of 1,014 adults comprising 506 men and 508 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. Interviewing was completed during the period December 3-6, 2009.

Source
American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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