Legislation Will Help More Families Bank Life-Saving Cord Blood
(TRENTON) - An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Daniel Benson, Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, Joseph Lagana and Valerie Vainieri Huttle to help more families afford the opportunity to bank their child's cord blood in the event of a medical emergency down the road.
The bill (A-393) would extend New Jersey's gross income tax medical expense deduction to certain cord blood banking services.
"This bill would make cord blood banking more cost-effective for New Jersey residents while encouraging the proliferation of cord blood banks in our state," said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex). "Hopefully this change will allow more parents to afford this potentially life-saving service."
Cord blood banking involves collecting blood left in a newborn's umbilical cord and placenta and storing it for future medical use because of the potentially lifesaving stem cells contained in it. Stem cells have the ability to develop into other types of cells, so they can help repair tissues, organs, and blood vessels and can be used to treat a host of diseases, like leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, blood disorders, and immune deficiencies.
"Even though we don't like to think about medical emergencies arising down the road for our children, it's wise to plan for the possibility," said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). "This tax benefit will allow more parents to do so and could ultimately save lives."
This bill would extend New Jersey's gross income tax deduction for medical expenses to cover cord blood banking service costs, whether undertaken as a precaution or for immediate use.
"If things like childcare and orthodontics are tax deductible, investing in something as vital as cord blood banking should be as well," said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). "This change will help many parents who might not otherwise be able to afford to bank their child's cord blood."
Specifically, the bill would make costs for the collection and storage of umbilical cord blood from a cord associated with the biological offspring of the taxpayer or the taxpayer's dependent a qualified medical expense.
"Cord blood banking is essentially an investment in your child's future," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "An investment of this magnitude, with the potential to save a child's life down the road, should be made affordable with this tax break."
Additionally, the bill would require that the collection and storage services must be performed by a qualified provider in compliance with the Department of Health's collection protocol for cord blood servicers.
The measure was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee.