Topics: Obamacare

Seniors push bill to repeal Obamacare provision that raises their costs

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Beltway Confidential,Congress,Joel Gehrke,Obamacare,Health Care

Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., introduced a bill to repeal a provision of Obamacare that threatens to increase costs for senior citizens after constituents brought the issue to his attention.

“This piece of legislation is a direct result of the concerns of the people I represent and discussions with the people of Green Valley,” Barber said in a statement Tuesday on the Helping Families and Seniors Save on Health Care Act.

“The most important thing I can do is bring the voice of our community to Washington. In this case, that means protecting Southern Arizona seniors from rising health-care costs," Barber said.

Barber wants to repeal a provision of Obamacare that diminishes the amount of medical expenses that senior citizens can deduct on their tax filings.

"Currently, taxpayers can take a federal income tax deduction for medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income," a Barber aide said in explaining why the congressman wants to keep the threshold for deducting medical expenses at 7.5 percent.

"As part of health care reform, this year that threshold is to be raised to 10 percent for taxpayers under age 65. In 2017, the increase also will apply to taxpayers 65 years of age and older," a background document said.

The bill is a response to a resolution passed by the Green Valley Community Coordinating Council, the volunteer government of a community in southern Arizona, which brought the health care law's cost increase for seniors to Barber's attention.

“Frankly, we felt the members of Congress had missed it,” Loren Thorson told the local Green Valley News.

The Green Valley resolution, according to the background statement, emphasized that the financial hit of limiting deductions for medical expenses would “be disproportionately borne by that ‘selective segment’ of the population that, via the ‘aging process,’ is already the victim of catastrophic non-reimbursable medical expenses.”

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