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Assembly Panel Approves Lampitt Bill to Tax Exempt Cosmetic Services Associated with Reconstructive Breast Surgery

Legislation is Known as Jen’s Law in Honor of Voorhees Woman Who Had Preventative Double Mastectomy

Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt to exempt sales tax for certain cosmetic services that are performed in conjunction with reconstructive breast surgery was approved by an Assembly panel on Monday.

“The decision to have a preventative mastectomy is far from something that a woman rushes into lightly and should not be treated as merely cosmetic under our tax laws,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “It’s becoming more and more common place as doctors get better at diagnosing the genes associated with breast cancer. This is a brave and life-saving decision that often has a considerable emotional and physical impact on a woman. Our laws should treat it accordingly and not create an additional burden.”

At the final stage of breast reconstruction surgery, women often decide to use permanent cosmetic make-up to create the appearance of a pre-mastectomy breast. Current law exempts certain massages, bodywork or other services, pursuant to a doctor’s prescription, however reconstructive breast surgery is not exempt.

Lampitt’s bill (A-4526) would expand the exemption to permanent cosmetic make-up applications, when it is called for by a physician. It also ends the loophole under which insurance companies are not covering sales tax charged for these types of procedures, therefore leaving it to the patients to pay the taxes out-of-pocket.

The bill, known as “Jen’s Law,” is named after Jennifer Dubrow Weiss of Voorhees who had a double mastectomy after it was discovered that she had a high risk for getting breast cancer due to loosing her mother at a young age to the disease and subsequent tests which diagnosed her at high risk.

According to the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery, the first gene associated with breast cancer was identified in 1994 and a year later, a second gene was discovered. Children of parents with these two genes have a fifty percent chance of inheriting the genes.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee, which is chaired by Lampitt.