"Botax" Angers Doctors and Patients

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Jerri Pedro runs a busy medical office in Fort Worth. The working mother, 48, says to look her best she does what a lot of women do. She gets botox injections. Pedro says a proposed plan to tax what some call liquid, anti-aging gold is unfair. "It predominantly falls on women and I think that is discrimination. We just want to look better".

But, looking better may soon cost more. Under a new tax proposed by democrats, dubbed the "botax", there could be a 5% tax levied on elective cosmetic surgeries and procedures. The plan would include tummy tucks, liposuction, face lifts, teeth whitening and many other procedures. The proposal is part of the massive health care overhaul now being debated in the senate.

Fort Worth Dermatologist, Dr. Steven Pedro thinks the tax is a bad idea. He says that even in the weak economy more women are paying the $400 for botox. Dr. Pedro says to hike the price by $20-30 would be a blow to career women, looking for an edge. "I know the government needs sources of revenue, but they are barking up the wrong tree and picking on a segment that doesn't need to be picked on and that is working women".

But, supporters of the tax see a cash cow which some believe could generate a potential $6 billion to help cover the cost of the health care overhaul. It's believed the tax would target the rich, especially suburban women. However, some plastic surgery experts say about 60% of those who get cosmetic procedures make less than $90,000.

Dental implant specialist, Dr. Steve Brown isn't a fan of the plan. Brown says he has transformed embarrassing smiles into something better and he says most of his clients aren't rich. "I am not next to a country club and very few of my patients are the country club type" Brown says Uncle Sam shouldn't put a price on self-image. "Why would we want to penalize people with taxation, who are trying to improve themselves".

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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