TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Jim Beach (D-Camden, Burlington) that would exempt sales tax for certain cosmetic services that are performed in conjunction with reconstructive breast surgery cleared the Senate today. Inspired by a Camden County woman who underwent a mastectomy as a preventive measure, the bill would establish ‘Jen’s Law.’
“I would like to thank Jen for bringing this issue to my attention. It took a great deal of courage for her to come forward and shine a light on the subject. It is because of her efforts that we are on our way to ensuring that many women across New Jersey will no longer be burdened with additional needless costs,” said Beach. “I am proud of the work we have done on this legislation. With this vote, we have taken a huge step forward in our effort to relieve the financial burden on women undergoing this procedure in our state.”
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. Under current law, these procedures are subject to sales tax. This bill, S-374, would expand the exemption to permanent cosmetic make-up applications, when it is called for by a physician. Current law exempts certain massages, bodywork or other services, pursuant to a doctor’s prescription. 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 is named after Jennifer Dubrow Weiss, a Voorhees advocate, who had a double mastectomy after it was discovered that she had a high risk for getting breast cancer. She lost her mother to breast cancer at a young age and after a series of tests, it was discovered that she had a high risk of being diagnosed with the disease. 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 legislation passed the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on December 5 and received unanimous support of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on December 19.