29 July 2009

American president Barack Obama has sparked a tax debate in light of his proposal to levy a 10 per cent tax on cosmetic surgery.The proposal has been announced as a way to help fund the $1 trillion overhaul of the Healthcare service planned by the President and is intended as a tax for the rich. However, a number of critics have suggested that the tax would instead hit the middle classes and would be very difficult for doctors to implement. According to The Telegraph, the tax would cover all procedures that are not currently tax deductible and are not typically covered by health insurance. This means that cosmetic surgery procedures such as nose jobs, liposuction, teeth whitening and hair implants would be subject to the new tax. Some critics have suggested that the tax would unfairly target women, as they make up 86 per cent of cosmetic surgery patients in the US. Speaking to the Telegraph, Malcom Roth, a vice president at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons claimed that the majority of patients earn less than $100,000 a year. He said: "Typically I see women who have had children and want a tummy tuck or liposuction - they call it a 'mummy makeover'. People literally scrimp and save for years and wait until they are 40 or 50 and want to give themselves a present." Last year, Americans are reported to have spent $20.3 billion on 12.1 million operations and procedures to enhance their appearances. Added tax on such treatments could potentially create some much needed funds for the president's health system. However, several states have already examined the idea, with New Jersey putting it into implementation. It reportedly only achieved 25 per cent of the forecast revenue from the venture.