LeadingAge staff and many of our members are back to work this week after an inspiring—if not tiring—LeadingAge Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Our time together was filled with learning about the issues and trends in our field that impact our daily lives, exchanging ideas, and sharing a lot of laughs as we connected with friends both old and new. This week is often our week to catch up as we tackle the work that we put aside as we prepared for the meeting. This year, we don’t have that luxury.

On Thursday of last week, the House introduced H.R.1—or the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—intended to “reduce tax rates and modify policies, credits, and deductions for individuals and businesses.” However, the impact on the residents and clients you serve has the potential to devastate older adults and their families, many of whom have higher than average medical costs and/or live in affordable housing.

LeadingAge opposes any tax legislation that eliminates the medical expense deduction and private bond funding, changes charitable deductions, or eliminates tax exemptions for the development and preservation of affordable housing.

Those who are older will find the bill’s elimination of the medical deduction a bitter pill to swallow. For them, it was the one deduction that could offset taxes on their investments, pension income, and social security checks. Their taxes will rise and their lifestyle choices will shrink.

We also oppose the elimination of private bond funding both because it impacts the development of low-income housing as well as effectively eliminates 501(c)(3) organizations from developing or renovating life plan communities/CCRCs.

Most of our members rely on charitable donations to bridge the gap between Medicaid reimbursements and the actual cost of care. Any changes to that tax deduction, indirectly accomplished by the bill’s increase of standard deductions, will widen the gap. Many of our communities, particularly in rural areas, will face the harsh choice of curtailing services or closing.

Repealing tax incentives to facilitate the production of affordable housing means, as the bill does by eliminating the tax exemption for multifamily housing bonds and ending 4% housing credits, a longer wait for our frailest, poorest, and oldest Americans. But the ripple effect of that one change could make affordable housing unaffordable not only for the greatest generation but for the wave of baby boomers.

America’s families will be shocked by the changes in the tax code.

We need your help.

Call your lawmakers TODAY. Tell them to protect the medical expense deduction and tax-exempt financing for all older adults and the place they call home.

Tell lawmakers that protecting these tax provisions is the right thing to do.