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On December 20th, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 which will create a deficit of $1.5 trillion in the next ten years. Unfortunately, legislators will cut spending from social welfare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, which will hurt older adults and people with disabilities. These cuts will drastically affect these populations in reducing affordability and accessibility of health care services.
Organizations, such as AARP, wrote a letter to congress to share their concerns and disapproval. AARP mentioned although the medical expense deduction is still intact the new tax legislation lowered it from 10% to 7.5%. Almost three-quarters of tax filers who claim the medical expense deduction are over the age of 50 and have at least one chronic condition.
On a personal note when I work in rehabilitation facilities, patients balk at the $157.50 co-payment they need to pay on day 21 of their stay. The co-payment amount will increase to $167.50 daily co-payment in 2018. Patients end up discharging home too soon resulting in medical complications or injury. With the great possibility Medicare will undergo spending cuts, this co-payment could possibly rise even higher. I am not convinced members of congress considered the potential harm this legislation will cause to older adults and their families.