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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

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Location: Washington, DC


STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - July 27, 2005)

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By Mr. DeMINT (for himself, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Dayton, Ms. Murkowski, and Mr. Enzi):

S. 1514. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the medicine and drugs limitation on the deduction for medical care; to the Committee on Finance.

Mr. DeMINT. I rise today to offer a bill that would amend the medical and dental expense income tax deduction so that nonprescription or over-the-counter drugs would be allowed as a deductible expense for taxpayers who itemize their deductions.

Currently, the IRS list of qualifying medical expenses does not include OTCs; this bill makes them a qualifying medical expense. The bill does this by striking the subsection that limits the deduction for drug expenses to prescription drugs and insulin. It also makes it easier for people to reach and exceed the 7.5 percent threshold.

I believe this bill will be particularly helpful for low income taxpayers and those with high healthcare expenses. Over 5 percent of tax filers currently claim the deduction for medical and dental expenses. Additionally, individual taxpayers can also claim the medical expenses of their spouses and dependent children--so pediatric cough syrup bought by parents for their children would be deductible if OTC medical expenses allowed.

This bill recognizes that over-the-counter drugs may be a big cost for some individuals and families. In addition, Americans using a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account get preferred tax treatment for OTCs, but Americans without them do not. Tax treatment of prescription and non-prescription drugs should be equal in this area.

I am grateful to Senator Bill Nelson for joining me as a lead sponsor of this bill. I am also pleased that Representatives Melissa Hart and Mike Ross have introduced companion legislation in the House. These individuals understand that reducing the cost of medicine is a goal we should all support. I urge my Senate colleagues to support this bill.

I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

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