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Society Joins Patient and Disability Partners in Concerns with Senate Tax Bill

November 29, 2017

The Senate is set to vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 as early as tomorrow. Earlier this week, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society sent a letter to Congressional leadership and members of the U.S. Senate discussing the current Senate proposal and voicing concerns about its house-passed counterpart (H.R. 1).  
 
The Society is monitoring several provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that may have significant impact of people living with MS as well as for its impact on the Society as a non-profit organization, which are outlined below. Additionally, the Society has serious concerns regarding the decrease in federal revenue proposed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Any decrease in federal revenue will have negative implications for the overall federal budget as cuts will need to be made to mandatory spending programs like Medicare and the federal public health and research agencies, which will significantly impact scientific and medical research, protection of the U.S. food and medical product supply, and long-term services and supports for people with chronic conditions. We cannot support a tax proposal that places these important programs in jeopardy. 
  • Impact on Health Care and Access
    • Medical expense deduction: The Society opposes eliminating the medical expense deduction in any final tax proposal.
    • Accessibility Tax Credit: The Society opposes repealing the Disabled Access Credit in any final tax proposal. 
    • Repeal of the Individual Mandate: We are opposed to the inclusion of repealing the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that people get health insurance or pay a penalty in any final tax reform legislation and joined 37 patient, disability and consumer organizations to oppose the House tax bill's proposed elimination of the deduction and 61 organizations in a letter to the Senate to protect the medical expense deduction.
  • Impact to Non-Profit Organizations
    • Charitable Giving – Universal Charitable Giving Deduction: The Society recommends that a universal charitable deduction be added to tax reform proposals. This deduction would offer a practical incentive to showcase the importance of private philanthropy for nonprofit organizations, like the Society, to help others live their best lives.  
  • Impact on Future Researchers and Fellows
    • Tuition Assistance and Student Loans - The Society is pleased that the Senate bill retains the tax credit for payment of student-loan interest and exemptions which allow graduate students to avoid paying taxes on the tuition waivers they receive when they work as research or teaching assistants. Any final tax legislation must retain these key exemptions and credits for graduate students. Elimination of these provisions combined with limited investment in medical research at the federal level would be devastating to medical research and further dissuade many undergraduate and graduate students from pursuing a career in basic science. 

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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