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Family Cord Blood Banking Act Introduced in 112th Congress

April 18, 2011 (PRNewswire) Cord Blood Registry (CBR), the global leader in family cord blood banking services, announced its support of legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Wally Herger (R-CA) and Ron Kind (D-WI), called "The Family Cord Blood Banking Act."

This important legislation would amend the IRS Code to allow individuals and couples to use flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), health reimbursement arrangements (HRA) or the medical expenses tax deduction to pay for umbilical cord blood banking services.

Speaking on his support for the bill, Congressman Herger, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee said, "This common sense legislation will allow families and individuals to use their tax-free health dollars for a medical expense that can truly save lives."

Cord blood stem cells have been used for the last 20 years in transplants worldwide to treat a host of blood and immune diseases. More recently, researchers have initiated FDA-regulated clinical trials to study the use of a child's own cord blood stem cells as a treatment for type 1 diabetes, traumatic brain injury and cerebral palsy. The Family Cord Blood Banking Act helps to make the cost of banking more affordable for a wider range of families.

Current tax laws restrict how families can use tax-free dollars in FSAs, HSAs, HRAs, or through the medical expenses tax deduction. "Unlike other medical therapies that can be acquired at any time, the very nature of cord blood stem cells requires that they be processed and stored before medical use. Thus, cord blood banking should be considered as a medical expense even though the use of these cells may not come until the future," said David Zitlow, executive vice president of external affairs at CBR. "The current limitation on the use of tax-free dollars for cord blood banking are unfair and out of date. Families who opt to deposit funds into tax-free health accounts should have the ability to spend those dollars as needed on qualified medical expenses."

"The Family Cord Blood Banking Act" is supported by the Coalition for Regenerative Stem Cell Medicine, which includes groups like the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH), the Parents Guide to Cord Blood Foundation and a growing number of organizations, researchers, and disease advocacy groups dedicated to raising awareness and lowering financial barriers of access to cord blood stem cells.

Copyright PRNewswire 2011

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