Breast feeding equipment should be considered a legitimate medical expense

MomsRising has started an online campaign to encourage the IRS to consider breast feeding equipment a legitimate medical expense. This would allow moms to use funds from tax-sheltered health savings accounts to purchase pumps and other breast feeding equipment.

Their case seems sound to me, so I am posting the link where you can sign on here

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

8 thoughts on “Breast feeding equipment should be considered a legitimate medical expense”

  1. When our children were babies I recall a catalogue with a Chevy-to-Caddy product line of breast pumps arriving in the mail. The high end was highlighted as the "Professional Model." I felt obliged to ask my wife if she was considering going pro.

  2. Research breast milk and infant health, Dave. It isn't for the moms. Breast pumps allow working mothers to continue feeding babies the food that the American Med Association, pediatricians, nutritionists all support as optimal for infant health. And that's all based on years and years of solid research. Breast milk is even more critical for babies who are premature or struggling with faulty immune systems or illnesses. So, the health issue is about infants and babies.I can see why that might not be instantly apparent to everyone. For mothers, it is more difficult, not less, to pump milk for their babies. If you go over to Moms Rising, you can find more info if you want it.

  3. Food is necessary to live. If I don't feed my kids they will die of a preventable medical condition (starvation) after experiencing various painful illnesses due to malnutrition. Therefore, all food fed to kids is a legitimate medial expense for tax purposes, right? No.

    I'm all for subsidizing breast feeding equipment, but we should not do it through the tax code by medicalizing something that is not a medical treatment.

  4. If we're going to subsidize something, then the way to do it is the way that is most practical and less expensive. If that happens to be through health-savings accounts, since they are already in operation, then we shouldn't reject using them because the item or procedure we wish to subsidize does not fit some arbitrary definition of "medical treatment" or "illness." There are lots of things besides breast feeding equipment that do not neatly fit such definitions — pregnancy, psychotherapy, smoking cessation, for example. Of course, we could use the money that might subsidize them to have bureaucrats figure out what category to place them in and then have lawyers litigate the bureaucrats decisions.

  5. How bizarre that they are NOT already included.

    Reminds me of the old feminist line, "if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament."

  6. By this reasoning, Tupperware is a legitimate medical expense. After all, if you make your own baby food, (And you ought to!) it's more convenient to store it than make it fresh on every single feeding occasion, and if you don't feed the kid, starvation is a medical condition…

    I mean, I wouldn't be outraged if the IRS were to declare them a legit medical expense. Sometimes they ARE medically necessary, my Victor couldn't latch successfully even though his mom was available full time. But low end breast pumps are remarkably cheap, don't they have more important things to lobby about?

  7. They are already a legitimate medical expense if a doctor prescribes them. Been there, deducted that. But that doesn't help you if you don't have the enormous medical expenses and serious adjusted gross income required to deduct medical expense directly on your 1040. So this is basically about whether rich families get government subsidies for something while middle-income and poor families don't.

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