Republicans are rushing through Congress a partisan tax plan that will have dire consequences for thousands of our sick and elderly neighbors in the 11th District.
The damage that this tax plan will inflict on middle-class Americans has been well publicized. The bill eliminates many deductions important to Virginia families, including the state and local tax and student loan interest deductions, and it caps the mortgage interest deduction. These important middle-class tax breaks are being sacrificed at the altar of tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and corporations.
But perhaps one of the most cynical parts of this radical plan is the elimination of all deductions for medical and dental expenses including prescription drug costs, premiums for long-term care insurance, payments to doctors, in-home care, and even nursing home care. Make no mistake, this will be catastrophic for the sickest and most vulnerable among us. Those who suffer from a chronic or serious medical condition, are disabled, or need in-home or in-facility medical services for themselves or an ailing loved one will find it even more difficult to afford necessary medical care.
I was recently contacted by a constituent who is a retired Colonel. His wife, who retired with disabilities from the Fairfax County School System, suffered a major stroke many years ago and is now completely disabled. She requires care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fortunately, they are able to pay out of pocket for in-home nursing care for part of this time, but with the Republican proposal to eliminate the deduction on these medical care costs, paying for nursing care for his disabled wife will become much more difficult. After serving our country and our county, and being responsible citizens who saved as much as possible for retirement, my constituent fears that they will be unable to provide the medical care that his wife needs. In his own words, “[we] looked forward to the ‘golden years’ and worked hard to be able to afford them. For us, the golden years will never be…Our ‘gold’ simply flows from our bank account to various medical expenses.”
And he is not alone. In the 11th district, more than 24,000 tax filers claimed medical and dental expenses totaling nearly $259 million in deductions allowed under the current tax code. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, more than 261,000 tax returns were filed claiming $2.6 billion dollars of medical expenses. The Republican tax bill will eliminate these deductions for the elderly and disabled and those caring for them, leaving them scrambling to make ends meet.
I promise that I will oppose any tax plan that will hurt those who desperately need this deduction just so the billionaires in our country can get a tax break.
Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress