Rep. Dan Burton Introduces Bill to Give Tax Breaks on Supplement Purchases
WASHINGTON--A bill that would give tax breaks to employees that purchase dietary supplements and medicinal foods has been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means in the House of Representatives. Introduced Dec. 12 by Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), the "Dietary Supplement Tax Fairness Act of 2001" would make health insurance plans cover dietary supplements, medical foods and foods for special dietary needs as medical expenses. The bill, HR 3475, is co-sponsored by Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Chris Cannon (R-Utah), Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Stephen Horn (R-Calif.).
An identical bill (SB 1330), also by the same name, was introduced to the Senate by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in fall 2001. Both 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 SB 1330, they also sent an accompanying letter that pressed FDA to approve the long-stalled federal GMPs.
Having two identical bills in the House and Senate increases the probability of at least one passing, according to an industry insider. This bill can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov by typing in "HR 3475."