Recently, the Senate proposed a health legislation which includes a 5% tax on cosmetic procedures. The cosmetic surgeries include hair restoration procedures and many other surgeries for men and women.
The potential 5% tax on cosmetic surgeries is a no-win situation for American citizens and potential hair transplant patients. By levying a tax on cosmetic procedures throughout the United States, it may further cripple our stumbling economy and reduce the much-needed funding states receive from cosmetic surgeons in order to build, for example, a high-speed train in California, create more innovative after-school programs for teenagers, poverty intervention programs for inner-city residents, more efficient forms of public transportation (e.g. metro rails).
But, at the heart of the issue, I believe, is the obstruction of an American citizen’s right to the pursuit of happiness. Through an orthodontist, people have the right to get their teeth straightened out; by undergoing a vasectomy, a married couple no longer has to deal with an unwanted pregnancy; through the purchase of an electric hybrid Honda Civic, a motorist can fight sky-rocketing gas prices.
The government doesn’t tax citizens for making these types of decisions. People do them because they believe these things will improve their lives. But why impose a tax only on cosmetic surgeries? Where do we draw the line? Who can be the judge of whether a hair transplant is a luxury for a 25-year-old man who started to lose hair and looked less attractive, which led him to struggle with social anxiety and feel depressed a lot of the time?
I believe this young person ought to be given the same opportunities as the other non-bald peers in his life, especially when we are talking about dating, relationships, and employment prospects in this increasingly-competitive time. Who knows, if this legislation passes, maybe in the near future, people who wear contacts will be taxed an additional 5%.
At US Hair Restoration, we perform hair transplants for lots of patients who travel from other countries, such as Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. Many of these patients visit the United States because they want, for their cosmetic surgeries, to be exposed to the most modern techniques; but many of them may consider the cost of cosmetic procedures, too. Increasing costs for these surgeries may deprive us from a potential source of income and deprive them of potential patients.
Currently, some states impose a tax on cosmetic procedures. According to doctors who work in these states, the results haven’t been pretty. The plan has fallen 59% short of its projected revenue; it’s proven to be an administrative pain-in-the-behind, and it was forcing many prospective clients to obtain cosmetic surgery services in surrounding states, resulting in reduced tax revenue collected from plastic surgeons from cosmetic-tax-imposing states.
For myself, as the medical director of US Hair Restoration, I’m against this legislation for the simple fact that people ought to have the freedom to do what they think will make them happy–without imposing additional costs on them. Our motto at US Hair Restoration has always been: “quality hair transplants for everyone.” Some of my patients have told me that they have lost a lot of life opportunities because of their baldness. Why not allow these wonderful people to get back what they deserve: their hair.
Let’s be fair to all people. After all, we live in the land of liberty.
Parsa Mohebi, MD
US Hair Restoration