Lawmakers in the House have been heavily criticized for eliminating the medical expense tax deduction from their proposed tax plan – a catastrophic move for disabled Americans, seniors, and those with high medical expenses. Americans often pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for essential medical services, such as power wheelchairs, hearing aids, and personal health assistants.
Under the current tax system, individuals can deduct those medical expenses if the costs exceed 10 percent of their gross adjusted income. Under the House plan, those with high out-of-pocket costs would be left out to dry.
Antoinette Kraus, Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network issued the following statement:
“Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations shouldn’t be funded by the oldest and sickest Americans who need the medical expense deduction to help them afford things like wheelchairs or home health aides. By definition, these people are already struggling with medical expenses that make up a significant portion of their income – they need relief, not higher expenses.
Hardworking families with high medical costs will be disproportionately impacted by the tax proposal. The elimination of the medical expense deduction is part of a tax plan currently slated for a vote in the House of Representatives Thursday that would give the wealthiest Americans & large corporations a $1.5 trillion tax cut, which will later have to be paid for by cutting Medicaid, Medicare, and other critical safety net programs that millions of families in PA rely on.”
In 2015, about 8.8 million Americans used the medical expense deduction which totaled nearly $87 billion. Of those who used the deduction, nearly 70 percent had annual incomes below $75,000 and more than half had a member of their household who is over 65 years old, according to an analysis of IRS data by AARP’s Public Policy Institute. The average medical expense tax deduction in 2014 was $9,958, the data show.