Urge Congress to protect the paralysis community

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on December 05, 2017 # Advocacy and Policy

The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have each passed different versions of tax reform legislation. However, sizable differences exist between the two bills, and tax reform cannot be finalized until each legislative body passes identical bills. House and Senate negotiators will now iron out the differences and write a final bill.

Now is the time to write your legislators and urge them to vote against any final tax package that doesn’t include and prioritize the needs of families impacted by paralysis.

The Reeve Foundation has significant concerns with facets of both bills:

  • The House bill would end the ability of a taxpayer to deduct medical expenses for themselves and dependents that exceed more than 10 percent of their adjusted gross income. Under the House’s plan, unreimbursed costs for expenses that make it possible for people with disabilities to maintain the quality of life they deserve would no longer be deductible. These include:
    • Wheelchairs, including operation and maintenance costs
    • Money paid for transportation for medical care—including bus, taxi, train, plane or ambulance services—for people with disabilities, as well as their caregivers
    • Installing specialized medical equipment in a patient’s home or vehicle
    • Physical therapy
    • Bills from out-of-network doctors

The Senate bill, fortunately, maintains the deduction, which gives us hope it won’t be included in the final bill:

  • A provision in the House bill would reduce the progress made over the last few decades to improve public access for people with disabilities. Currently, small businesses can get a tax credit on any improvements they make to their facilities to make them more accessible. This credit has been vital for pushing back against (while providing a financial incentive to) businesses that claim it’s too expensive to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), despite having more than 26 years to become compliant. The House proposal eliminates this credit; the Senate maintains it.
  • Finally, the Senate bill eliminates the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate, which would leave as many as 13 million low- and middle-income Americans without insurance over the next decade, including five million individuals now receiving Medicaid. It would also cause premiums to rise by about 10 percent for most of the next decade. The bills also pose a significant threat to Medicaid’s long-term stability, as they would increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion. In order to pay for these reductions, Congress may cut spending across Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other critical programs,

If enacted, these provisions could prove devastating to individuals living with paralysis. Contact congress and urge them to protect the paralysis community. It will take you just two minutes, but can make a big difference.