Legislative Report…Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott

The last thing that sick, older Americans need right now is a tax hike — but that’s exactly what will happen unless Congress takes action.

A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate, which would protect older Americans from a potential tax increase in 2017. Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, introduced the legislation midOctober designed to protect seniors with high health care costs from a “health tax” in 2017. The Seniors Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2017 (S. 1977) would allow for a two-year delay in the scheduled increase of the income threshold — to 10% from the current 7.5% — after which those age 65 and older can deduct medical expenses on their tax returns. AARP “supports this temporary delay as a necessary immediate step toward permanently restoring the tax threshold to 7.5% for older Americans with high out-of-pocket health care costs.”

Citing recent IRS data, AARP noted that:

• 56% of those taking the medical expense deduction were age 65 or older.

• Nearly 31% of taxpayers age 65+ that claimed the medical expense deduction had annual income under $50,000.

• Nearly 73% of people of all ages claiming the medical expense deduction had annual income under $75,000.

AARP is urging “Congress to follow the lead of Senators Brown and Portman by enacting measures such as this that will help protect older Americans from high health and long-term care costs.”

AARP also asks us to tweet, write or call our Senators to urge them to get on board with this bill. If it doesn’t pass soon, we are the ones paying, yet again. There is also an advocacy page at action.aarp.org. Just type in “Seniors Tax Hike Prevention Act of 2017” into the search bar and you will find a link to the action page.