Proposed Supplement Tax Break
On November 10, 1999, Representative Dan Burton of Indiana introduced a proposal to amend the Internal Revenue Code. His idea is to allow taxpayers to claim the cost of dietary supplements as part of their medical expenses. Many people use nutrition and special diets to prevent or control illness, but the related expenses do not, in tax terms, qualify for medical deductions. Representative Burton's bill attempts to change that.
The bill is, of course, still in its infancy, and subject to alterations, compromises, and complete rejection. Keep that in mind as you read Rep. Burton's introductory remarks on Dietary Supplement Medical Expense Tax Amendment (House Bill 3306):
"There is an increasing amount of scientific data demonstrating the benefits of good nutrition, education, and appropriate use of dietary supplements to promote long-term health. Many Americans rely on dietary supplements as a means of maintaining good health and for some, to improve health conditions. Additionally, children with inborn errors of metabolism, and pervasive development delays such as autism require special diets and supplements that can create a significant cost burden to families. All individuals with autoimmune disorders, chronic inflammatory disease, and diabetes have special dietary needs and incur significant expenses in regard to these needs. A long-term cost savings will be realized in health care by the adherence to special dietary needs of individuals with certain diseases and disorders through the slow down in progression of disease and better quality of life.
"The inclusion of dietary supplements as a medical exemption will in no way re-designate them as drugs for regulatory purposes under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. I urge my colleagues to co-sponsor this Internal Revenue Code amendment. It would insure that all Americans with medical conditions that require special dietary approaches and individuals who are maintaining better health through the use of dietary supplements will not carry the burden of this additional expense alone."
Upline discovered this proposed legislation through Citizens for Health, grassroots advocates for natural health consumers. Susan Haeger, Citizens' president and CEO, explained why such an amendment is needed, and how Network Marketers can participate in the process.
Ms. Haeger pointed out that the unamended tax code unfairly penalizes those who choose natural health alternatives over conventional medicine. Although HB 3306 needs to be refined (it doesn't clearly define the levels of exemption), it is a strong first step. The costs of maintaining good health can be as significant as the costs of treating illness, especially for those who require a highly controlled diet as well a supplements. By placing those expenses equal to costs of drugs and surgery, the amendment gives natural prevention and health a level playing field with standard medical treatment.
To succeed, HB 3306 needs to pass the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the President of the United States. Networkers can participate by letting their Representatives know they are interested in this and related legislation. Citizens for Health offers an Instant Activist section for all the issues they cover. By going to their website -- www.citizens.org -- you can skim or research local and national issues as well as finding prepared letters you can edit to email or mail.
Susan Haeger is president of Citizens for Health: The Voice of Natural Health Consumers. The organization seeks to make American state and federal policy, legislative, and regulatory issues available to all levels of participation, from casual observer to in-depth researcher. Citizens for Health is headquartered in Boulder, CO.
Reprinted with permission from Upline, Legal - January 2000, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com