Tax Bill Does Not Reflect Our Nation's Priorities
As an organization that is dedicated to advancing access to quality, equitable care, we cannot support any legislation that would render over 13 million few Americans without health care coverage. The Congressional Budget Office predicts this loss would be the result of repealing the individual mandate as contained in The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (HR 1).
The patients and families we serve through Patient Advocate Foundation’s direct services often look for ways to lessen the cost of their care – however, they never wish to go without insurance. By repealing the individual mandate, our patients would not choose to go without insurance but instead would be forced out of the market by the ensuing rise of premiums.
This is not the only provision in HR 1 that raises financial concerns. For many Americans, the medical expense deduction literally keeps the lights on in their home, along with allowing them to heat that home, buy the food they need and continue to pay for their own ongoing medical needs.
Taking away the medical expense deduction would hurt people in every Congressional district. Health care is already expensive. The tax code should not make it even more so. We urge the Senate to drop this provision as they consider the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Finally, we have serious concerns that this legislation would trigger sequestration, leading to cuts to many of the public programs on which people rely, most notably Medicare. Over one-third of the patients served by Patient Advocate Foundation are insured through Medicare; cutting funds for this program could deny these beneficiaries access to needed medical services and would also cut into the finances of an aging population.
Our tax code should reflect our priorities. We urge Congress to reject those provisions that particularly deny patients from needed financial relief and instead to carefully consider where they can further aid those who need it most.