Medical Expense Deduction Eliminated in Republican Tax Plan
As you probably read in the newspaper or heard on the news, House Republicans introduced their tax reform bill on Nov. 2. Republican leadership in the House and Senate intend to rush this bill to final passage before the end of November and send it to President Trump so he can sign it into law.
Ordinarily the Well Spouse Association would not take a position or urge our members to take action on a tax policy bill, but this one is different. This bill would completely eliminate the Federal income tax deduction for medical expenses.
Medical expenses have been deductible since the early 1940s, and while only a small percentage of taxpayers claim this deduction, it is of particular importance to many Well Spouses. As we know all too well, the cost of medical and long-term care for chronically ill spouses —whether at home or in a nursing home—can be financially catastrophic. Home health aides, durable medical equipment, ramp vans, medical supplies, medical transportation, medical insurance premiums, drugs, doctor visits, physical, occupational and speech therapy, and on and on and on— these costs eat up a huge portion of many Well Spouse family budgets. A particularly challenging burden is having to pay for expensive long-term care out of pocket - Medicare specifically excludes coverage for most long-term care, as do most private and employer-provided medical insurance policies—and private long-term care insurance is expensive, riddled with exclusions, and typically cannot be purchased at any price for persons who have “pre-existing conditions.” For Well Spouses with large medical expenses whose financial resources have not yet been depleted enough to qualify them for Medicaid, preserving the tax deductibility of medical expenses is vital.
It is possible that other tax cuts in the Republican bill would offset part or in some cases all of the harm caused to Well Spouses by elimination of the medical deduction, but the bottom line is that many Well Spouses most likely would see their taxes go up if this bill becomes law. It simply is not fair for families who are already shouldering a huge medical expense burden to face higher taxes as the result of a law whose stated purpose is to cause most other Americans’ taxes to go down. If you want more background information on the impact of the Republican tax plan’s repeal of the medical deduction, here is a short article that’s worth reading: http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/09/29/big-tax-question-what-happens-to-medical-expense-deduction.html .
Please do not delay in contacting your Representative and your Senators about this important matter. You can call them, e-mail them, and request to meet their staff— or do all three. Tell them your own compelling personal story about the crushing financial burden you and your family face for medical care and the importance of the medical deduction in partially mitigating this burden.
If you are not sure of the name of your Representative, you can find it here (just enter your zip code): https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ .
Phone numbers and mailing address for all 435 members of the House of Representatives can be found here: https://contactingcongress.org/ .
Phone numbers and mailing addresses for all 100 U.S. senators can be found here: https://contactingcongress.org/ .
Or, you can be connected to your Representative and Senators via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.