MedRetreat – Medical Tourism

August 3, 2009

A Cosmetic Surgery Luxury Tax Would Boost Medical Tourism

Embattled congressmen on Capital Hill are churning out endless ideas to help pay for the massive healthcare reform proposals, which will cost Americans more than 1 trillion dollars over a ten year period, according to most estimates.

One idea proposed just this past week was a “luxury tax on plastic surgery.”  Although it appears that this idea has not gained mass appeal as of yet, it does make one wonder if all the reform stakeholders are considering the long-term consequences of all their political policies.

Take this example above of a luxury tax on plastic/cosmetic surgery.   The obvious reason for such a proposal is that cosmetic surgery is in most cases not necessary, and is considered by many a luxury for wealthy Americans.  A face and neck lift can easily cost over $10,000 to the average patient.

What has not been considered, however, is the numbers of Americans that are traveling outside the U.S. for their cosmetic procedures. This trend, referred to in the media as “medical tourism,” has grown from a fringe business only few years ago into a full-fledged industry today.

Many U.S. Board Certified Surgeons are treating North Americans every day at state-of-the-art hospitals that are accredited by the Joint Commission International, the branch of the U.S. accreditation organizations that accredits hospitals in the U.S.  These hospitals, located in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and India, are able to perform the same procedures at a fraction of the cost in the U.S.  The same face and neck lift that is over $10,000 in many places in the U.S. are little as $4,000 in many countries around the world.

It would seriously behoove our politicians in Washington, D.C. to consider the broader implications of adding a tax here and tax there to pay for increased government control.  Global competition is a reality.  Doctors and patients can travel.

For more information about medical travel, visit MedRetreat, the first U.S. organization established in 2003, to assist Americans in traveling abroad in a very safe and stress-free manner to receive medical treatment.



  1. That’s an interesting idea. Cosmetic surgery is becoming more and more popular especially among wealthy Americans but also among the middle class. The luxury tax could end up reducing the number of middle class people who get the surgery which would could then end up hurting the cosmetic surgery industry.

    Comment by Media Cosmetic Surgeon — August 5, 2009 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

  2. Hi,
    That was great information.Medical tourism is a growing phenomenon now in asian countries especially in india,thailand,etc.The contributions these countries make and the support given to them by their government is excellent. Thanks for the substantial information.

    Comment by brooks — August 8, 2009 @ 6:24 am | Reply

  3. thanks for this piece of information. It’s an interesting idea.


    Comment by Natalia — September 26, 2013 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

  4. Very relevant facts……..Medical tourism improves the quality of healthcare services with technological advancements in affordable costs……….

    Comment by MTS Company (@mtscompany) — June 14, 2016 @ 4:57 am | Reply

  5. Hi,
    Information provided above is great. Medical tourism indeed is a growing industry in India. Medical tourism will open gates for affordable Treatment/Surgery. Thanks for the information.

    Comment by Berry — March 1, 2017 @ 12:27 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: