California is Moving Forward with Bill to Remove Tax on Breast Pump Equipment
on March 15, 2023
In California, mothers who pump breast milk are required to pay sales tax when they buy their equipment. Meanwhile, infant formula is generally exempted from taxation. Breast pumps are basic necessities for breastfeeding mothers, and taxing pumps limits access to breastfeeding by making the product more expensive.
And while insurance coverage is an option for some, it does not solve the problem. Many individuals have to buy pumps outside of insurance, out of pocket, and are subject to tax. For those covered by insurance, the tax cost still impacts them as sales tax increases the cost to supply pumps on the insurance market, leaving parents with fewer choices despite scientific evidence that breastfeeding fosters infant and maternal health. If insurance is used to help subsidize a premium breast pump model, the parents and the home medical equipment provider are still required to pay their respective taxes.
Eliminating this tax is one step California can take to improve access to breastfeeding for women at all socioeconomic levels, and it’s a solution that is both simple and cost-effective.
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