DO NOT PENALIZE THE SICK: KEEP THE MEDICAL DEDUCTION

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I am a 61-year-old female who is chronically ill with primary progressive MS. I am wheelchair-bound and require 24/7 aides to assist me with all activities of daily living. Sadly, there is no good prognosis for my situation. I am on Medicare, but Medicare does not pay for home health aides and even with supplemental Part D prescription drug coverage, I must pay out-of-pocket for the exorbitant costs of my specialty medications, treatments and therapies. On average, individuals suffering from serious, chronic illnesses like cancer, cystic fibrosis, and multiple sclerosis, spend between $50,000 to $100,000 annually on treatments and medications. Individual Americans, such as myself, rely on the availability of the itemized deduction on their tax return to help reduce the effect of their overwhelming medical expenses. As it is, the deduction is not available for the first ten percent (10%) of medical expenses incurred if one is younger than age 65; afterward, there is still a 7.5% threshold that must be met. The value of this deduction to those whose lives are already faced with serious challenges is not offset by any of the proposed tax cuts. Moreover, increasing the standard deduction would do nothing for this vulnerable segment of our population; it certainly would not ease the burden for the very sick. I shudder to think of what will happen to me, and other taxpayers facing similar circumstances, were we no longer able to claim a deduction for our medical expenses.

Nobody asks to be sick and it is demeaning to classify the itemization of medical expenses as a tax loophole. Maintaining this deduction should not fall prey to partisan politics. I am appalled that it is even a part of the conversation!

Special interest groups have the political and monetary clout to advocate on behalf of the preservation of deductions seen by them as useful to a particular industry.  Those of us who are faced with serious illnesses must advocate for ourselves. I urge you to sign my petition and circulate it on social media to send a clear message to our elected officials in Washington that  eliminating the medical deduction is cruel and unjust and should not be a part of any tax reform legislation.



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