November 14, 2018

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

What Does the IRS Have Against Boobs?

We’re asking this question in a collective sense. Call it a hunch but we’re pretty sure that Doug Shulman votes “T” on the T&A question.

To clarify, we’re talking about breast feeding. More specifically about breast pumps for nursing mothers.

You see, the IRS isn’t convinced that breast-feeding has enough health benefits to qualify as a form of medical care, thus, the pumps are not covered. From a tax/health policy standpoint, the Service is more concerned with teeth (false), skin (clear) and noses (not stuffy).

Denture wearers will get a tax break on the cost of adhesives to keep their false teeth in place. So will acne sufferers who buy pimple creams.

People whose children have severe allergies might even be allowed the break for replacing grass with artificial turf since it could be considered a medical expense.

But nursing mothers will not be allowed to use their tax-sheltered health care accounts to pay for breast pumps and other supplies.

That is because the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that breast-feeding does not have enough health benefits to quality as a form of medical care.

The Times explains that under the healthcare overhaul, “preventive procedures” were going to be encouraged to control costs. Despite the mounting evidence to the contrary, the IRS isn’t budging on the issue:

I.R.S. officials say they consider breast milk a food that can promote good health, the same way that eating citrus fruit can prevent scurvy. But because the I.R.S. code considers nutrition a necessity rather than a medical condition, the agency’s analysts view the cost of breast pumps, bottles and pads as no more deserving of a tax break than an orange juicer.

Because tools that will help a mother feed a new-born human being natural food is exactly the same thing as the Omega 4000. Got it.

Acne Cream? Tax-Sheltered. Breast Pump? No. [NYT]