Congress is currently considering tax reform bills that include provisions that would negatively impact people with mental illness and their families.
1. Increases the cost of health insurance.
- Under the Senate bill, people will no longer be fined if they don't 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, which allows people who spend at least 10% of their income on medical expenses to deduct those costs 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
The House bill will end this tax deduction, taking money out of the pockets of people with serious mental illness who can least afford it - and may even lead to people going without treatment.
3. Reduces incentives for affordable housing.
- The House bill 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 the Section 811 program for housing.