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IRS claims "breastfeeding does not have enough health benefits to qualify - Page 2

post #21 of 25
I supposed the question is: Is a breast pump a medical device? I could argue that it is. A normal way of feeding a baby is from the breast so when you "can't", a pump is a device to make that normal thing possible.

Am I being logical here?
post #22 of 25
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
I think if the IRS would have stuck to the "food vs. medical care" issue, people wouldn't be so up in arms. But when they start mouthing off about breastfeeding having no significant health benefits, especially when other government agencies are working hard to promote breastfeeding, that's a huge problem. It isn't their job to interpret health data.
I agree with this. I also agree with PPs that stated that there are no "benefits" to breastfeeding as it is normal. There are, however, RISKS associated with feeding formula and so from the perspective of preventative medicine, I can see how a breastpump should maybe be considered a medical expense.
post #23 of 25
I think it's important to qualify that not every mother who uses a pump is doing so because she's "chosen" to nurse. As a matter of fact, I think that's a bit of a ridiculous assumption. Pumping isn't always a choice, as we've seen in some of the stories here. And do we really want the IRS of all government agencies to be in the position of judging whether a mother's reason for using a pump is good enough?

I also think the whole "well, you chose to be in a situation where you use a pump" argument is a bit of a slippery slope. How many other expenses could that decision be applied to? Who gets to decide what's the norm and what's not? The IRS? That's craziness. What's next-- homebirth? midwives? vitamins? contraception? After all, if people have to be vigilant against choices that lead to a "contraception accident," maybe they just shouldn't be having sex in the first place. That is hyperbole, by the way.

I'd be interest to know if special formulas are covered for babies and children who can't survive without them.

And finally, I just find it really odd that, as a pastor's family with a housing allowance, we can use toilet paper as part of our tax deductable housing allowance (we don't by the way) but they're quibbling over something like a breast pump. It's such a bizarre hill to die on.
post #24 of 25
Hmmm....I have to say that I think that breastmilk is as much of a medical necessity to babies as good, whole, healthy, nutrient-dense foods are to everyone else. Which is the say that it's very necessary for good health...but it is FOOD and not medicine.

Just like people can survive on junk, processed, nutrient-deficient foods, so can babies survive on formula. Will they be in as good health as they could be. Probably not...as least not in the long run. Will, the risks of a poor diet catch up to them eventually...probably. But both formula and processed junk food can provide the necessary calories and minimum nutrient requirements to stay alive.
post #25 of 25

Further info/clarification

I just got an email from LLLI with some clarification/links and thought I would share.

This is the original IRS publication. Note it doesn't mention breast pumps one way or the other.

Aetna tells members breast pumps are an allowable expense IF "recommended by a health care professional for a medical condition with the mother or the infant (or both)..."

Cigna, on the other hand, says it's not allowed, period:

Finally, the IRS response to the AAP's letter asking that breast pumps be an allowable expense says they don't have the authority to change this and it will require Congressional action.
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