February 19, 2011
In a 2010 ruling, the IRS classified breast pumps and other equipment used for nursing as medical deductions, a boon to nursing mothers, who can spend several hundred dollars on an electric breast pump (though the more savvy score them for far less on eBay). This is good news to every middle income family, given that their average cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 17 is said to be $222,360. It has surely spurred the hope that warm clothing, a home, pesticide-free food and Pilates classes will be deemed medically helpful and warrant the same classification.
It’s not clear if nipple creams are included as medical deductions, but it’s likely that new moms have been scrambling to find receipts for their Hooter Hiders, those fashionable accessories that shield breasts from public view. Michele Bachmann, who opposes government intrusion into personal matters (calling it a "nanny state"), will surely argue that with other young women eagerly exposing their breasts, Hooter Hiders cannot be considered essential. She can also be expected to take exception to beer, thought to increase milk flow, being considered as a medical deduction.
The other major Michelle – Obama – sees the ruling as a victory as she supports nursing as a strategy for curbing childhood obesity, which may have spurred MB’s reaction, given that she challenges everything that the folks in Washington are doing.
Getting fired up about whether or not nursing expenses should qualify as medical deductions is taking your eyes off the ball and directing them at another part of the anatomy. If this issue merits attention, it would only be when everything else is going swimmingly, a case nobody can make.
Both Michelles have followers, and not just groupies on Twitter, but great numbers of people who admire them. Better they should encourage their minions to think about things that need to be fixed, like our country’s economic problems, how to get people back to work and whether it’s worse to be beaten by another human or a robot on “Jeopardy.”
Breast Feeding Gets a Nod from the IRS: Pumps are Deductible (Time)
Nursing Mothers Finally Get a Tax Break (Smart Money)