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December 2017
Tax Reform Bills Pose Threats to Public Health, Medical Education, Coverage

The House and Senate have passed different versions of tax reform legislation that pose serious concerns for IDSA and HIVMA. Both societies continue to weigh in with Congress as Republican leaders seek to negotiate a final bill. You can view IDSA’s most recent letter and HIVMA’s most recent statement.

Both bills would increase the federal deficit by over $1 trillion over a decade. This significant deficit spending will trigger $25 billion in automatic cuts to the Medicare Program and eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund that currently accounts for 12 percent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s budget (though Congress is discussing passing a bill to halt this trigger). Other federal health and public health programs also would face future cuts due to reduced revenue coupled with growing federal deficits.

The House-passed tax bill contains a new barrier to researchers pursuing post-graduate education, treating tuition waived in exchange for teaching and research commitments as taxable income. This provision would put graduate education out of reach for many and deplete the pipeline of new scientists. IDSA and HIVMA staff have heard from multiple Republican Congressional offices that they are working to reject this provision in the final bill. The bill also would eliminate the student loan interest deduction, an important mechanism to reduce the significant student debt burden facing many of our nation’s graduates—particularly new physicians.

The tax bill passed by the Senate includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would increase the number of Americans without health insurance by 13 million over a decade and increase premiums in the non-group health insurance market by 10 percent annually.

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