Botox avoids taxation in proposed US health care overhaul

22 December 2009

It has been announced that wrinkle-reducing injections have avoided possible taxation in the recent US healthcare overhaul. The proposed reform could have seen Botox and other cosmetic surgery procedures subject to a 5 per cent tax as part of an overhaul of the healthcare system by American president Barack Obama. However, Reuters reports that plastic surgeons and Botox maker Allergan Inc successfully fought the tax, which would have applied to procedures such as breast enlargements, facelifts and a range of other cosmetic surgeries. Botox was a late addition to the Senate's reform plan, and Allegran fought fiercely when the inclusion was announced in November. Many plastic surgeons, physicians and organisations, including the American Medical Association, joined the campaign to keep the reform, dubbed 'Botax', from going through. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has dropped the tax on cosmetic surgeries from the bill, which will see a final vote on Christmas Eve, but many surgeons are wary of celebrating too early. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Renalto Saltz, a Utah physician and the president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery said: "I'm glad the cosmetic surgery tax - at least for now - is out, but we are not ready to celebrate just yet." While Botox and other similar procedures avoided the tax, other elective treatments such as tanning beds did not. The funds raised by the introduction of such taxes are earmarked to pay for a $871b overhaul, which will include improvements such as wider insurance coverage.