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 Medical Expense Deduction Coalition Praises House, Senate Legislation

Long term and post-acute care advocate the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living has joined with other members of the Medical Expense Deduction Coalition, including AARP, on a letter to lawmakers who introduced bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate to make permanent the 7.5 percent threshold for the medical expense deduction.

The coalition sent the correspondence to Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) in support of HR 2073 in the House and to Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to back companion legislation in the Senate, S 110.

In the House, the bill was referred to the Ways and Means Committee for further action and in the Senate to the Finance Committee.

In the letters, the coalition said for the past 75 years, people with high health care costs have been able to deduct medical expenses from their taxes. And, for the approximately 4.4 million Americans who annually do this, the deduction provides important tax relief in helping to offset the costs of acute and chronic medical conditions for older Americans, children, pregnant women, and other adults, as well as the costs associated with long term care and assisted living.

Medical expenses that qualify for this deduction can include amounts paid for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, equipment, qualified long term care services costs, and long term care insurance premiums, the coalition said.

“Families across the country with high health care costs face a constant stream of deductibles and high co-pays, and also pay out-of-pocket for various services and devices that enable the individual to live a productive life in the community,” the letter said.

Of note, 70 percent of the taxpayers who claim this deduction have income between $23,100 and $113,000 per year. And, even with Medicare assistance, beneficiaries spend a large portion of their income on out-of-pocket expenses, with the average Medicare beneficiary spending around $5,680 out of pocket on medical care, the group said.

“Furthermore, older Americans often face high costs for long term services and support, which are generally not covered by Medicare, as well as hospitalizations and prescription drugs,” the coalition said. “Tax relief in this area can provide needed resources, especially important to middle-income seniors with high medical costs.”

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