Tax Proposal Imperils Minnesota Seniors
Carol McCarthy | Dec 14, 2017 AT 8:08 am
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - The final version of the Republican tax bill that Congress is expected to decide next week may mean a $25 billion cut to Medicare in 2018 alone.
That's because at the end of each calendar year, the Office of Management and Budget must cut spending programs to offset any increase in the deficit - a process known as PAYGO.
Erin Parrish, associate state director for advocacy and outreach at AARP Minnesota, says cuts like that are likely to affect access to health care across the board.
"These cuts would be to reimbursement payments to providers like doctors and hospitals," she explains. "Certain doctors may stop accepting Medicare patients at a time when the Medicare population is growing by 10,000 new beneficiaries each day."
The only way to stop the cuts is with special legislation known as a waiver.
AARP is urging members to call their members of Congress and make sure they vote to waive cuts to Medicare.
The tax bill also could disproportionately affect seniors because it may eliminate the medical expense tax deduction.
PAYGO means other cuts also are likely to programs that may indirectly affect seniors - programs such as student loan reimbursement, farm subsidies and the unemployment trust fund.
But Parrish says cuts at the federal level mean states will have to pick up the slack, and that's just passing the buck.
"You know, we're an aging population and we need to make sure that services and programs are there to support our older Americans," she stresses.
Parrish says because Minnesota Third District Rep. Erik Paulsen is on the Ways and Means Committee, he will be particularly influential in talks about tax reform and the Medicare waiver.