After the Republicans passed their tax reform bill in the Senate over the weekend, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement detailing their concerns about the legislation.
“From where we sit, the Senate’s tax reform bill has three strikes against it,” stated Nancy Brown, CEO of the AHA. “It calls for the repeal of the health insurance mandate, it takes away the charitable tax deduction from millions of Americans, and it could set in motion $150 billion in cuts to domestic programs, including Medicare and the Prevention Fund. All of these provisions will have an impact on Americans who face the serious challenge of cardiovascular disease—and on this association’s ability to serve them.”
The AHA emphasizes that if the health insurance mandate is repealed, healthcare coverage will disappear for many Americans, and the decrease in number of insured could cause premiums to rise an average of 10%. This will directly affect patients with a pre-existing condition like heart disease or stroke.
Americans will also be affected by the limits placed on charitable deductions by this bill. Tax deductions for donations encourage taxpayers to give their money to their favorite causes, but with the current legislation, more than 30 million Americans will not be able to claim the charitable deduction and only wealthy donors will be able to make tax-exempt donations. The AHA estimates that donations could drop by $12 to $20 billion per year, which will affect communities that rely on individual charitable contributions.
This legislation will also cause Medicare support to providers to drop by $25 billion, and the Public Health and Prevention Fund would cease to exist. The AHA notes that these cuts would have devastating effects on Americans who suffer from heart disease or stroke.
“We urge the House and Senate to emerge from conference with legislation that does not penalize Americans who need affordable health insurance, offers incentives to everyone to give to the charity of their choice, and keeps intact the domestic programs that help support the heart health of our nation,” Ms Brown concluded.
Brown N. American Heart Association raises concerns about Senate tax bill [press release]. Dallas, Texas: American Heart Association. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/american-heart-association-raises-concerns-about-senate-tax-bill. Published December 4, 2017. Accessed December 5, 2017.