WASHINGTON--A bill that would give tax breaks to employees who purchase dietary supplements and medicinal foods has been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means in the House of Representatives. The "Dietary Supplement Tax Fairness Act of 2001" (HR3475) was introduced Dec. 12 by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.). It would require health insurance plans to cover dietary supplements, medical foods and foods for special dietary needs as medical expenses. Co-sponsors include Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Chris Cannon (R-Utah), Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Stephen Horn (R-Calif.).
Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced an identical bill (SB1330) in the Senate earlier this year. The bills propose that alternative health care options would be tax deductible for employers and should be excluded from employees' taxable income. In addition, parents would be financially covered to pay for dietary needs for children experiencing such maladies as AIDS and autism.
Both bills, which would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, stipulate that such foods and supplements must comply with the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) applicable good manufacturing practices (GMPs). When Harkin and Hatch introduced the Senate bill, they also sent an accompanying letter that pressed FDA to approve the long-stalled federal GMPs.
Information on the bills can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov by typing in the bill numbers.