Bo-Tax: Why This Is A Problem

Deep in the bowels of the health care monstrosity being rammed down our throats, there is a provision that will add a 5% tax on a “cosmetic surgery and medical procedures.”:  The $849 cost of this bill, which Democrats in Congress have done such a brilliant job of ignoring thus far, has to be paid for somehow. And since the American people are the government’s primary source of income, the cost of the bill falls on the shoulders of the working class that this administration has promised over and over to protect.

What does that mean exactly? The tax would cover any cosmetic medical procedure deemed “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.” Which, keep in mind, is totally arbitrary. Isn’t this what they pretend to hate insurance companies for?

During the campaign, then Candidate Obama put an incredible amount of pressure on Senator McCain for the proposed tax on health insurance. That aversion to a medical tax in any form is no longer in play now that it is inconvenient to keep taxes low. The truth is that they have no way to pay for this legislation, despite the empty promises that it will not affect the national deficit. This Congress has never met a tax it didn’t like, so now it’s on the table — and the American people should fight it mercilessly. Why? Let’s break this down:

  • Taxes will be raised the Middle-Class. Yes. The same middle class that President Obama and Congress pretend to be fighting for all the time.
  • Women have more surgeries and procedures. Therefore, women will be hit hardest by this. Again, those same women that the Left pretends to care about. One can think of some women in Congress that will be hit particularly hard by this.
  • It violates patient privacy. When the government is footing the bill, they feel like they own you. It should be noted that the same people that were up in arms about the Patriot Act, which was an attempt to strengthen our national security, will gladly hand over their privacy now that there is a hand out involved.
  • Patient safety. This is compromising to those in need of procedures because the short story is that costs will go up all around. The doctors will not absorb all those taxes and those increased costs will ultimately come from the patient. Doctors are not the enemy, yet they will be forced to bear some of the burden.
  • This does nothing to advance the goals that has been set for health care reform. The goal, which has been stated over and over, is to provide low cost, easily accessible health care for everyone in the country. This tax exists to pay for the outrageous cost of the provisions in the bill, and that is all. It is not there to help the American people gain access to affordable health care.
  • There is no logistical plan put in place. It is impossible for the government to effectively manage the tax on every medical procedure. So the weight of this problem falls on the shoulders of the doctors, who now have to spend more resources to make sure that they’re obeying the law. There is no way on God’s green earth that this is going to bring down costs.

It is the patient’s right to choose surgery. Those who choose surgery to enhance the self esteem so valued by our culture should be able to do so safely. By making it more difficult and inaccessible, they are limiting innovation, adding unnecessary burden to surgeons who are also performing procedures that may very well be deemed “necessary” by the Medical Procedure Powers That Be. Some simple examples of procedures that could be affected by this tax are including botulinum toxin and dermal filler injections, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, dental caps and implants, teeth whitening, and more.

In addition, many experts and medical organizations have spoken out against this tax. From the AMA:

“The AMA strongly opposes taxes on physician services to fund health care programs or to accomplish health system reform. We believe that additional revenues generated to help finance health system reform should come from broad-based taxes.” (American Medical Association, AMA comments on Senate health reform bill H.R.3590, 12/1/2009)

From the Wall Street Journal:

“The Botax proposal was a last-minute addition to the Senate health bill. It was aimed at plugging a revenue gap after Sen. Reid scaled back a planned levy on high-value insurance plans.” (Jonathan D. Rockoff, Knives Drawn Over the ‘Botax’, Wall Street Journal, 12/4/2009)

The core of this argument goes back to the core of the argument against government intrusion in our health care system: these decisions should be made by doctors, not an arbitrary board of government employees. It is up to patients and doctors to decide what is necessary. Is this the ugliest or most outrageous part of this bill? No. It is, however, the one part that infringes upon a person’s right to make choices concerning their own body. It allows women’s choices to be held up for scrutiny and viewed with contempt. Hands off, Congress. Some choices are not for you to make.

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