Tax bill threatens catastrophe for seniors

December 15, 2017

The GOP House tax bill, recently passed, is a catastrophe for those in nursing homes or assisted living or needing home- health assistance whose investments are being drained to pay for their care while earnings on investments will be taxed without the ability to deduct them as medical expenses.

Current law permits deduction for medical expenses exceeding 10 percent of gross income. While this change is not in the Senate bill, it could become law if it survives the reconciliation process.

Such expenses vary widely by region and care required, but according to a recent survey, they are approaching a median (mid point) per year range in the U.S. of $50,000 for a home-health aide to $100,000 per year in a nursing Home (Genworth). As reported in the Nov. 7 USA Today, more people are living longer, and more than half of 85-year-olds will likely develop Alzheimer's with which they may need to live for eight to 10 years to death.

If this provision becomes tax law not only those in long- term care but all who have excessive uninsured medical costs will be driven to the ranks of those on Medicaid. Oh, but that, too, is currently under the gun of the healthcare debate. Maybe we just need to return to "putting grandma/pa on the ice flow."

Oh, but with current rejection of environmental planning there won't be ice flows in the future, so we may be left with just "throwing her/him under the bus." Is that legal? Well, laws are made by people. Would that be ethical? What is ethics?

Richard F. Kauffman


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