Dear Patterson Network Project Community
Late breaking news: The vote on the Senate tax bill was postponed because there were not enough votes to approve the bill. The sticking point is that fiscal conservatives want to see a workable plan to deal with the projected deficit if the cuts fail to result in increased tax revenue. This is a good time to contact our Congessional representatives, even if you’ve already done so.
I wish to thank Ligia Andrade for her contribution to this article.
A few days ago the GOP tax bill was pushed forward through the Senate Budget Committee moving on to the Senate floor preparing it for vote by Friday morning December 1, 2017. The passing of this bill will cause significant changes and devastation to health and social services especially for individuals with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities. It is important to educate yourselves on the significant impacts this bill will have not only now, but for years to come.
It is not too late to understand the effects and contact your representatives. Here are the areas of concern…
- Despite the varying opinions on the Affordable Care Act there are an estimated 13 million people who depend on this for health coverage are expected to lose access to health insurance completely.
- Whether the individual mandate is expensive or not for different individuals, healthcare premiums are projected to increase 10% each year over the next 10 years as a result of the tax cut bill.
- Eliminating the ability to deduct health care costs from taxable income will hurt the elderly, disabled, and chronically ill who rely on these deductions to afford to stay in their homes instead of being institutionalized. When coupled with cuts that are projected to be made to Medicare (see below) this will be especially devastating.
- Charitable contributions are significant for nonprofit agencies that provide services to the disabled community along with the general population, alleviating their dependence on government funding allowing for funds to be used for things that are not restricted by the donors. Reduction in charitable contributions to nonprofit agencies is expected to lead to a reduction in funds available to the disabled and critically ill population.
- Many individuals with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities depend on certain medications that treat our very specific disorders. Reducing the tax credit to businesses that develop these types of drugs, which are expensive to produce is forecast to result in a 33% reduction in the availability of these medications.
- Additional cuts to “non-entitlement” programs such as Vocational Rehab, public housing, public transportation, education, employment, and other programs that are specifically for individuals with disabilities, or used by individuals with disabilities will be made.
- 4%-$25 billion could be cut from Medicare, affecting millions of individuals living with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities, devastating their lives in many different ways. For example, the cost of something simple such as catheters, DME, in-home care services etc. are all funded by Medicare and will be significantly affected.
- $1.5 trillion is projected to be added to the national debt as a result. It is expected that the shortfall will be financed by cuts in Medicare and other health related programs.
Please use the link below to find and contact your local congressional representatives to find and contact your local congressional representatives.
For more extensive information on how this will affect individuals with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities here are some links to other disability related websites and their take on the impacts.
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
American Civil Liberties Union
California Foundation of Independent Living Centers