Physicians Write Your Federal Lawmakers- Tax Reform Proposals Harm Access to Care

By Anthony Kassir

From the APA:

Congress is forging ahead with passing major tax reform that threatens our patients' access to health care. The Senate is expected to vote on their reform package the first week of December. That gives us a fraction of time to tell them that our patients shouldn't have to pay for tax breaks.
How Tax Reform Impacts People with Mental Illness:

The Senate's proposal would repeal the Affordable Care Act's Individual Mandate:

Repeal of the individual mandate will increase the number of uninsured Americans by 4 million in 2019 and by 13 million in 2027.

This will likely cause health insurance premiums to rise by an estimated 10 percent, putting coverage and access out of reach for more low- and middle-income Americans.

The House's proposal seeks to end the tax deduction for medical expenses: This deduction allows some of our patients to off-set the costs of appointments, stays in inpatient psychiatric or substance use facilities, transportation to mental health treatment and medication.

Both proposals could cause cuts to Medicare and Medicaid: It is estimated that the current proposals could add as much as $1.5 trillion to the deficit. While neither tax bill touches these programs directly, lawmakers may turn to these lifesaving programs, and other safety-net programs, to pay for the tax cuts and reduce the deficit.

What You Can Do to Help:
We are the physician leaders of the mental health care system. We must stand up for our patients and tell Congress to reject these harmful proposals.
What the APA is doing:
Congress may have gone home this week, but the APA hasn't. Last week we immediately joined forces with other prominent physician groups to take a leadership role in fighting back these harmful proposals. This week we will continue these efforts and remain a strong presence in Washington, DC. However, we are only as strong as our membership, which is why we need you to support these efforts by contacting your lawmakers today!


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