Thousands of consumers and plastic surgeons across the country rallied against the proposed tax on cosmetic surgery earlier this year, hoping to persuade Congress to reconsider the changes to the health care reform bill and find other ways to raise funds.
The elective surgery tax, otherwise known as the “Botax”, would have raised an estimated $5.8 billion over the next 10 years. After careful review, the Senate has decided to drop the Botax and impose a new tax on tanning instead.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the person that first introduced the concept of the Botax, has decided to switch the amendment so that a tax would only be applied on tanning services throughout the United States. The tax on tanning salons would be 10 percent on all tanning services, and the Senate estimates that this would raise about $270 million every year. The goal of imposing this tax is to offset some of the Senate’s costs of health insurance for millions of Americans.
The modified health care reform bill was released on the Saturday morning after Christmas. The bill states that the tax would apply to all tanning beds that deliver UV radiation and not spray tanning facilities. Tanning salon visitors can expect to start paying the extra 10% tax as a sales tax beginning July 1, 2010.
While a tax on tanning may be able to raise funds for the government, there is a bright side to the changes.
According to Dr. David M. Pariser, president of the American Academy of Dermatology, “we made the case this will reduce health care costs by hopefully reducing skin cancer in the future – that’s the point – and also raise a little revenue now.” (Source: NYTimes.com) The tax essentially may deter some people from using a tanning bed on a regular basis and reduce the risk of skin cancer.