The Senate’s healthcare reform legislation published by Democratic leaders last night included a big surprise for anyone saving up to enhance or undo what God gave them—a new 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic procedures.

The tax would take effect beginning in January and is being proposed as part of the sweeping healthcare overhaul to partly pay the cost of helping millions of uninsured people obtain medical coverage.

It would raise nearly $6 billion over 10 years, and who knows, perhaps even a few lawmakers might be enhancing the Federal Treasury if the tax ends up in a final bill signed by President Barack Obama.

The tax proposal came as a bit of a surprise to investors, and shares of Allergan, which markets popular wrinkle fighting Botox and Natrelle breast implants, fell in early trading along with the share prices of other makers of products for cosmetic procedures.

It is possible that the proposed new tax will be cut from the bill during the upcoming Senate debate.

And if it survives the Senate, there is still the question of whether House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will nip and tuck the proposal right out of the bill.

[Source: Reuters]

Copyright Reuters 2009. Click for Restrictions