November 22, 2017

RECESS ACTION ALERT

Urge Your Senators to Vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Background

On November 17, the House of Representatives passed its version of a tax bill.  The Senate is prepared to act on its bill right after they return from Thanksgiving recess the week of Nov. 27.  Both bills are extremely harmful to people with disabilities. A conference committee may have to work out the differences between the bills, meaning that provisions in either bill could end up in a final tax bill.  Both bills are harmful because they:

  • Increase the deficit significantly to provide tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans and corporations.

  • Lead to cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, and other critical programs for people with disabilities in order to reduce the deficits and debts incurred by tax cuts.

While the House tax bill does not directly cut Medicaid, the actions it takes will have the same or even worse effect on Medicaid and other services and supports for people with disabilities.

The House passed a tax bill that has many provisions that harm people with disabilities and their families by eliminating the following tax deductions and credits:

  • Deduction for high medical expenses, which is critical to many people with disabilities and their families

  • A $2,400 tax credit businesses can get when hiring someone with a disability

  • A $5,000 tax credit for businesses that make their businesses accessible to people with disabilities (Architectural Barriers credit)

  • The incentive to contribute to non-profit agencies that often provide support for people with disabilities and their families (charitable giving)

The Senate has proposed a bill that is even worse. It includes a provision to repeal the individual mandate to obtain health insurance. The individual mandate is a central part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which greatly benefits people with disabilities by eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions, banning annual and lifetime limits, prohibiting discrimination based on health status, and much more. Repealing the individual mandate will:

  • Result in almost 14 million people losing health care coverage (according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office).         

  • Increase health insurance premiums for those purchasing coverage on the exchange by at least 10% for the unforeseeable future (also according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office);·         

  • The CBO analysis also says the repeal of the individual mandate will save approximately $330 billion (because of the large number that will not be insured) over ten years.  This money will be used to pay for a making the corporate tax cuts permanent and to cut to the tax rate for corporations and individuals on the upper income scale.

We have a VERY short timeline to stop this very harmful and unpopular legislation.  The Senate is scheduled to vote on its Tax Cuts and Jobs Act the week after thanksgiving, the week of November 27.

TAKE ACTION

Contact your Senators over the Thanksgiving recess.

  1. Call your Senators.  Call the Capitol Switchboard number 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators.  

  2. Attend a Town Hall Meeting.

  3. Participate in a Tax Plan Protest Event.


WHAT TO SAY:

  • I am your constituent [a member of (organization)].

  • Please vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

  • This tax bill will hurt people with disabilities and their families.

  • We cannot afford these tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.  

  • Tax reform should not be rushed.  People should have time to understand the bill and how they will be affected.

  • Do not repeal the ACA individual mandate.  This will further destabilize our health care system, raise premiums, and could lead to my family losing their health insurance.

  • This bill will lead to less jobs for people with disabilities.

  • This House bill will prevent me from using a tax deduction to pay for my medical expenses.

 

A Rule by the Social Security Administration on 01/18/2017

We are revising our medical evidence rules. The revisions include redefining several key terms related to evidence, revising our rules about acceptable medical sources (AMS), revising how we consider and articulate our consideration of medical opinions and prior administrative medical findings, revising our rules about medical consultants (MC) and psychological consultants (PC), revising our rules about treating sources, and reorganizing our evidence regulations for ease of use. These revisions conform our rules to the requirements of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA), reflect changes in the national healthcare workforce and in the manner that individuals receive medical care, and emphasize the need for objective medical evidence in disability and blindness claims. We expect that these changes will simplify our rules to make them easier to understand and apply, and allow us to continue to make accurate and consistent disability determinations and decisions.

Link to Federal Register

 

These final rules are effective on March 27, 2017.  However, see https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/24/implementation-regulatory-freeze 

Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders

SUMMARY: We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate claims involving mental disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). The revisions reflect our program experience, advances in medical knowledge, recommendations from a commissioned report, and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).


DATES: These rules are effective January 17, 2017.

Revised Medical Criteria for Evaluating Neurological Disorders

SUMMARY:We are revising the criteria in the Listing of Impairments (listings) that we use to evaluate disability claims involving neurological disorders in adults and children under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). These revisions reflect our program experience; advances in medical knowledge, treatment, and methods of evaluating neurological disorders; comments we received from medical experts and the public at an outreach policy conference; responses to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM); and public comments we received in response to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and a Federal Register notice that reopened the NPRM comment period.

DATES: This rule is effective September 29, 2016.

 

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/07/01/2016-15306/revised-medical-criteria-for-evaluating-neurological-disorders