Senate nips Botax from healthcare reform

So, who's more powerful in Washington: Tanning-bed companies or cosmetic-drug makers? The latter, of course--and the proof is in the pudding otherwise known as healthcare reform. The latest Senate legislation scrapped the so-called "Botax" of 5 percent on elective cosmetics procedures in favor of a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning.

Drugmakers Allergan and Medicis Pharmaceutical lobbied hard against that Botax. They enlisted dermatologists and other doctors--and their patients--to persuade senators that the women who show up for cosmetic procedures aren't the rich, fur-and-diamond-wearing, privileged consumers they meant to target, but plain old soccer moms.

But the Senate couldn't just strip out the Botax without something other revenue-generator to replace it. After all, they're looking for a bill that won't add to the deficit. Hence the indoor tanning levy--Tantax?--that is slated to raise $2.7 billion over 10 years.

That industry had some harsh words for Botax opponents. "It is not surprising that one primarily cosmetic business is trying to throw another under the bus," the Indoor Tanning Association's executive director said in a statement (as quoted by Dow Jones). Well, the American Medical Association had deemed the Botax "discriminatory against women." What's next? With healthcare reform racing toward a finish, plenty more by tomorrow.

- get the story from Dow Jones
- see the Reuters news