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AARP Letter to Senate: Tax Legislation Could Spur Significant Cuts to Medicare

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AARP today sent a letter to the U.S. Senate expressing concerns about tens of billions of dollars in potential cuts to Medicare next year alone, as well as potential tax increases or little or no tax relief for older Americans.  The full text of the letter to the Senate is below:

Dear Senator: 

On behalf of our members and all Americans age 50 and older, AARP is writing to express our views on the Senate’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. AARP, with its nearly 38 million members in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, represents individuals affected by this tax bill in myriad ways. As we did with the last major effort at tax reform a generation ago, AARP is prepared to support tax legislation that makes the tax code more equitable and efficient, promotes growth, and produces sufficient revenue to pay for critical national programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. However, the Senate Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, in its current form, does not meet these criteria. 

Most troubling is the negative effect the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have on the nation’s ability to fund critical priorities. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will increase the deficit by approximately $1.5 trillion over the next ten years, and an unknown amount beyond 2027. The large increase in the deficit will inevitably lead to calls for greater spending cuts, which are likely to include dramatic cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other important programs serving older Americans. Indeed, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has confirmed that unless Congress takes action, the reconciliation legislation will result in automatic federal funding cuts of $136 billion in fiscal year 2018, $25 billion of which must come from Medicare. Such sweeping cuts would be detrimental to an already vulnerable population.                       

Efforts to restructure all or part of the federal tax system should maintain incentives for health and retirement security. Such incentives are not only important to assist individuals in attaining the security they deserve but are vital to our nation’s future economic well-being. The expiration of several of the income tax provisions in 2025, introduction of chained Consumer Price Index to the tax code and, for many filers, the repeal of the state and local tax deduction, would result in little if any tax benefit for many older tax filers, and for others, a tax increase. In fact,

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