Seniors cannot afford GOP tax bill

To the editor:

If the Republican tax bill is enacted, many older Americans will be hit hard.

The deduction for major medical bills, including for long-term health care, will be eliminated. The proposed limit on medical deductions of 10 percent of annual income means that people who have planned for their old age by taking out large insurance policies — sometimes costing up to 40 percent of their income — may have to abandon them. This would throw them in with the millions of American who have no long-term health care insurance at all.

AARP has calculated that about three-quarters of those who claim the medical expense deduction are 50 or older, and more than 70 percent have incomes of $75,000 or less. Many of those expenses are for long-term care, which is typically not covered by regular health insurance. Long-term care can cost many tens of thousands of dollars a year. Young people may be able to adapt to changing tax laws by adopting different strategies. But even those of us who have planned ahead for decades how to pay our own way when we need long-term care may be just as devastated as those older friends who never took out insurance.

I’ll be writing to our 4th Congressional District representative, Jim Jordan, asking him to vote no on any tax reform bill that attacks seniors in this way.

John Elder