Tax Reform Shouldn't Hurt Mental Health Care

When you hear about tax reform, you may not think it affects people with mental health conditions and their families. But the bills in Congress do. Here’s how:

1. Increases the cost of health insurance. Under the Senate bill, people will no longer be fined if they do not have health insurance (also known as the individual mandate). This will increase the number of uninsured Americans by an estimated 13 million. With fewer healthy people insured, premiums will increase—making insurance less affordable for people with mental health conditions.

2. Ends the tax deduction for medical expenses. The medical expense deduction allows people to deduct medical expenses that exceed 10% of their adjusted gross income from their taxes. This can include payments for:

  • Visits with psychiatrists, psychologists or therapists
  • Inpatient psychiatric and substance use stays
  • Transportation to mental health treatment
  • Mental health medications
Repealing this deduction will harm people, including people with serious mental illness, who have very high medical expenses. 

3. Reduces incentives for affordable housing. Too many people with mental illness lack affordable housing. The House bill will hurt, not help. It will repeal the tax exemption on private activity bonds, which the National Housing Trust projects will result in 950,000 fewer units of affordable rental housing. This will cause even greater challenges for people with serious mental illness who rely on Section 811 housing.

Tell your members of Congress that tax reform shouldn't hurt people with mental illness.

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