Doctors See Loopholes in Botax Bill

The proposed 5 percent tax on cosmetic surgery procedures has many doctors shaking their heads and even has some consumers in uproar. Senator Harry Reid’s proposed health care bill includes a 5 percent tax on elective surgery, and if it is passed, will tax almost every type of procedure from Botox to liposuction, regardless of whether the procedure is covered by insurance.

Many people, including members of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, have declared that this tax is designed primarily to target hardworking middle-class women, since this is the group that is most likely to pay the premium for plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures. Doctors across all specialties are taking a close look at the bill to make sure they fully understand which procedures will be taxed – and which won’t.

When the bill was first proposed, cosmetic surgeons, anti aging specialists, aesthetic surgery professionals and dentists were all worried about the extra taxes that would be levied on basic procedures and treatments including teeth whitening, dermal fillers, photo rejuvenation and other anti aging procedures.

Some medical professionals believe that there is still a lot of confusion about the tax and that there may actually a loophole in the bill. According to ABC News, a spokesperson for the Nevada Democrat confirmed by e-mail that “The tax applies to any cosmetic surgery or other similar procedure which is performed by a licensed medical professional and is not necessary to ameliorate a deformity arising from, or directly related to, a congenital abnormality, a personal injury resulting from an accident or trauma, or disfiguring disease.”

Doctors see some gray areas here, noting that patients that undergo bariatric procedures to lose weight and then have to have extra skin removed or a tummy tuck to correct their figure may be able to bypass the tax because these procedures are part of the bariatric weight loss package. (Source:

Further Reading

  • Motivated by his wife and kids, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who once called himself “the healthiest fat guy you’ve ever seen”, disclosed Tuesday he secretly underwent Gastric Banding (Lap Band Surgery) on February 16, 2013, performed by Dr. George Fielding, head of NYU Medical Center’s Weight Management Program.

  • With bathing suit season right around the corner, plastic surgeons across the country are finding more women are booking up appointments for body contouring and breast augmentation procedures. Dr. Michael Niccole, founder and medical director of CosmetiCare Plastic Surgery Center and MedSpa in Newport Beach, and one of the “Top Plastic Surgeons in America”, reports that his appointment books are full, with a high demand for breast implants, skin tightening procedures and body contouring procedures to help women lose a few inches around the hips and thighs.

  • Sound Surgical Technologies, the company behind Vaser Liposelection the Vaser ultrasound device, has developed the VaserShape system, a non-surgical device that helps reduce cellulite and inches in certain areas of the body. The VaserShape device is a non-invasive body contouring system powered by ultrasonic laser. The device is designed to disrupt fat cells beneath the skin by delivering ultrasound energy deep into the skin’s tissues.