Bill would allow health care deduction |

Bill would allow health care deduction

A new bill introduced Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Grand Junction, could allow individuals and families to deduct all medical expenses over $200 from their income taxes each year.

“The costs associated with providing health care services can be very high and can take a large bite out of our wallets,” said McInnis. “Americans need help, and this bill will work to offset their out-of-pocket expenses.”

McInnis spokesman Blair Jones said businesses are now allowed to deduct health care spending, but the same Internal Revenue Service codes don’t apply to individuals and families.

“This legislation will help level the playing field between individuals and businesses,” McInnis said.

McInnis’ explanation of the bill did not include the estimated cost to the government in lost taxes if it passes.

Currently, individuals and families are allowed to deduct medical expenses only if total costs are more than 7.5 percent of total income. A family making $50,000 a year, for example, has to build up $3,750 a year in medical expenses before becoming eligible to deduct their medical expenses.

Taxpayers use deductions to lower their taxable income, which means they pay less in taxes.

Under McInnis’ proposed legislation, however, that same family would be allowed a full tax deduction of its unreimbursed medical expenses once they surpass $200 annually.

“The bill would repeal the 7.5 percent threshold, and would allow health care deductions whether a tax return is itemized or not,” explained Jones.

Jones said health care expenses eligible for the deduction include health insurance premiums, co-pays, over-the-counter and prescribed medicines, and other costs associated with health care.

McInnis said another benefit of his proposed bill is to make health insurance more affordable for those who currently aren’t covered.

“Individuals and families who do not receive health care coverage from their employers will be able to better afford health insurance,” McInnis said.

Since 1988, McInnis has served on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax, trade, Social Security and Medicare.

“Improving the quality of health care has and will continue to be among my top priorities this Congress,” said McInnis.

Last year, McInnis was instrumental on designing a rural health care package, which increases the amount Medicare reimburses rural hospitals and home health agencies.

“Like the rural health package, this bill represents another step in the right direction to ensure that health care is more affordable and accessible to individuals and their families.

“By no means is this the final solution to solve our health care challenges, but it will provide real savings for Americans,” added McInnis.

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