Action Alert! Don’t Let Congress Trade Tax Cuts for Medicaid and Other Essential Services
November 14, 2017
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) this Thursday (11/16/2017). The Senate has begun markup on their version of the bill, also titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this week and is expected to hold a floor vote the week after Thanksgiving.
Both bills would add $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit and are skewed to benefit the most wealthy Americans. If passed, this legislation presents a dangerous scenario that could lead to future funding cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and other supports and services that people with disabilities rely on to live independently in the community. Our elected officials in the House of Representatives and Senate need to hear from the disability community about our concerns with this tax cut plan.
The Senate tax bill now includes language to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that repealing the individual mandate “would result in 4 million people losing their health insurance in the first year and 13 million in a decade.”
The House bill is also damaging as it proposes to eliminate several tax deductions and credits that benefit people with disabilities. These include:
- The Medical Expense Deduction: This tax deduction allows people to deduct large, unreimbursed medical and dental expenses that exceed 10% of their income. Approximately 8.8 million people utilize this deduction, 70% of which have an income at $70,000 or lower. Most filings are around $10,000 by people with high healthcare costs, which largely includes people with disabilities, chronic health conditions, and other medical conditions. People are allowed to deduct expenses for a variety of expenses including treatments, surgeries, medications, and medical travel.
- The Disabled Access Credit and Barrier Removal Tax Deduction: Businesses that accommodate people with disabilities may qualify for tax credits and deductions including the Disabled Access Credit and the Barrier Removal Tax Deduction. This credit and deduction incentivizes small businesses to make their businesses accessible for disabled people. Small businesses can claim a 50% credit per year for expenditures between $250 and $10,250 that increase access and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- The Work Opportunity Tax Credit: This federal tax credit is available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups (including disabled people who receive services from Vocational Rehabilitation, SSI recipients, returning citizens, veterans, and long-term unemployment compensation recipients) who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The current tax credit for hiring a person with a disability can be as high as $2,400 for a business.
At present time, these deductions and credits are not eliminated in the Senate bill.
While neither tax bill includes direct cuts to Medicaid or other disability services, these cuts are expected to follow to offset the $1.5 trillion added to the deficit due to providing large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Medicaid and other disability services were the target of intense cuts over the summer through the various Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bills proposed in the House and Senate. There is no doubt that these same services remain on the chopping block to help pay for the proposed tax cuts.
Contact your Representative and tell them to oppose this bill!
Call your Congress Members
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Representative.
Meet with your Congress Members
You can arrange a meeting in Washington, DC or in your home state, depending on when Congress is in session. Contacting Congress allows you to request a meeting with your Member of Congress. You can also check the Town Hall Project for congressional events in your area. The Senate is planning to vote on their version of the tax bill after Thanksgiving. This provides an opportunity to meet with your Senators while they are in your home state over the holiday.
- Civic Engagement Toolbox for Self-Advocates – Autistic Self Advocacy Network
- How to Set up a Meeting with your Member of Congress – Families USA
Email your Congress Members
Contacting Congress provides unique links to email your Representative directly.
Tweet your Congress Members
Twitter has become a powerful tool to communicate with elected officials directly. Find your Congress Members on Twitter and tell them to oppose these bills.
Sample Tweets to Fights Against Disability Attacks in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (developed by Access Living)
- 8.8 million households claimed medical deductions in 2015. Eliminating deduction vital to people with high medical costs is a #TaxOnDisability.
- Taking away medical deductions from seniors with greater medical needs, people with disabilities, and families with disabled kids is a #TaxOnDisability.
- Average deduction claimed is close to $10K; cost of long-term care could be $100K or more. Keep deduction, no to #TaxOnDisability
- #TCJA eliminates incentive for businesses to hire people with disabilities, including older Americans with disabilities. No to #TaxOnDisability
- Current tax credit for hiring a person with a disability can be as high as $2,400; ending the Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a #TaxOnDisability
- Eliminating orphan drug tax credit is a #TaxOnDisability. Older Americans and people with disabilities are more likely to have a rare disease or condition #TCJA
- Eliminating small business tax credit for increasing accessibility to employees with disabilities, older workers, and customers is a #TaxOnDisability
- The #TCJA may result in older Americans and individuals with disabilities paying more taxes on Social Security benefits.
- If seniors and individuals with disabilities can’t deduct medical expenses, many may need to use tax-deferred accounts. No to #TaxOnDisability
- #TCJA could kill investments in underserved communities that provide people with disabilities a place to live. No to #TaxOnDisability
- Eliminating deduction of state/local income, sales taxes from federal taxable income would squeeze state budgets No to #TaxOnDisability
- #TCJA could force massive cuts that block grant #Medicaid and damage state programs for people with disabilities. No to #TaxOnDisability
- Death and Taxes: Dangerous Tax Reform Bill Introduced – Take Action Now! – National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
- CCD Fiscal Policy Task Force Statement on House Tax Cut Bill – Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)
- Joint Committee on Taxation Distribution Tables Confirm Skewed Priorities of House Tax Bill – Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP)
- Tax plan would hardly boost growth, add trillions to deficit: study – The Hill
- House Tax Bill Bad for Those Who are Aging and Disabled – Senator Bob Casey (D-PA)
- ASAN Opposes Tax Bill, Repeal of Individual Mandate – Autistic Self Advocacy Network