Coalition applauds bill to repeal cosmetic surgery tax

February 09, 2006

The Coalition to Stop Medical Taxes applauds the introduction of a bill (A2282) to repeal New Jersey's tax on cosmetic surgery procedures. The tax was enacted in 2004 and has generated much less revenue than originally predicted - a 72 percent shortfall. The repeal bill was introduced by Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, the original sponsor of the cosmetic surgery tax bill in 2004.

"We greatly respect the fact that Assemblyman Cryan has taken this step to repeal this tax," said Bruce Cunningham, MD, and ASPS president. "States around the country are grappling with funding issues. But taxing medical procedures is simply not the answer."

The New Jersey tax set a dangerous precedent when it became the first and only state to tax medical procedures during its 2004 legislative session. The tax was predicted to generate $24 million in its first year, but fell well short of expectations and brought in only $6.8 million. Despite the shortfall, lawmakers in states throughout the country saw a tax on cosmetic medical procedures as a viable means to fill state budget shortfalls. The poor revenue result and administrative challenges of New Jersey's tax illustrated the inadequacy of the law - ultimately none of the states passed cosmetic medical procedure taxes in 2005.

"As a New Jersey citizen I fully appreciate the leadership that Assemblyman Cryan is demonstrating in his proposal to reverse this tax," said Peter Hetzler, MD, and past president of the New Jersey Society of Plastic Surgeons. "As a physician, I am thrilled because the idea of taxing medical procedures made me very uneasy. I was very concerned about the detrimental effects this tax could have on patients, the medical community, not to mention the integrity of the healthcare system."
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 6,000 members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The Coalition to Stop Medical Taxes is a group of local, state and national organizations, businesses, community groups and professionals who oppose taxing patients for medical procedures of any kind. Current members include: Allergan, Inc.; American Academy of Dermatology; American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; American Academy of Ophthalmology; American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery; American College of Surgeons; American Medical Association; American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery; American Society for Dermatologic Surgery; American Society of Plastic Surgeons; Arkansas Medical Society; Illinois State Medical Society; Medical Society of the State of New York; Medicis; Mentor Corporation; Washington State Medical Association

American Society of Plastic Surgeons

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