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For Immediate Release
February 10, 2011

CONTACT: Mike Westling (Merkley) - 202-224-7871
Justine Sessions (Harkin) - 202-224-7977
Josh Drobnyk (Levin) - 202-225-4961
Jon Houston (Maloney) - 202-225-7944

IRS Decision a Victory for Nursing Mothers Everywhere

Breastfeeding Equipment to be Allowed as Medical Tax Deduction and Reimbursed by Flexible Health Spending Accounts


Washington, DC - In response to a request from Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Representatives Sander Levin (D-MI) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced they will reverse a ruling that denies equipment used to help women breast feed from being covered as a health care expense. The previous ruling excluded breast pumps from coverage under flexible health spending accounts and made them non-deductible on tax returns.

Merkley, Harkin, Levin, and Maloney wrote to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman in November to call for the decision to be reversed. Senators Merkley and Harkin were joined by 9 other Senators; 32 other House members joined Reps. Levin and Maloney.

In response to today.s decision, Senators Merkley and Harkin and Reps. Levin and Maloney released the following statement:

"Today's decision is a huge victory for nursing mothers everywhere. Modern medicine has documented numerous health benefits linked to breastfeeding, including a reduced risk of illness in infants and a reduced risk of cancer in mothers. And because breastfeeding is so effective in preventing disease, it also happens to save billions in health care costs. We thank the IRS for their careful consideration and quick response."


A PDF of the complete House members. letter to Commissioner Shulman can be found here; the Senate version is here . (They are identical.)