WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) today introduced bipartisan legislation to help seniors with rising health care costs by maintaining the threshold to claim the medical expense tax deduction for seniors at the current rate of 7.5 percent of income for an additional two years.  If no action is taken, the threshold to claim the deduction will rise to 10 percent of income on January 1, 2017, raising health care costs for seniors.

“Seniors living on a fixed income shouldn’t have to choose between going to the doctor or the grocery store,” said Brown. “Letting seniors deduct the cost of going to the doctor and buying expensive prescription drugs from their taxes helps relieve the burden of high health care costs by putting more money back in their pockets. I’m grateful to Senator Portman for working together on behalf of our seniors.”

“The rising cost of health care is a critical issue for every American, but especially for seniors who live on fixed incomes.  And since seniors are often faced with higher medical expenses, this deduction provides important tax relief to help offset many of these costs,” Portman stated. “I want to express my thanks to Senator Brown for his leadership on this issue, and I look forward to working with him to advance this bipartisan proposal.”

AARP has endorsed the legislation, saying in a letter that it is “especially important to middle income seniors with high medical costs”:

“AARP believes every effort should be made to keep the threshold for the medical expense deduction as low as possible to help protect people with high health care costs,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins in the letter. “This is consistent with our long stated goal to increase healthcare access and affordability for all Americans.  For these reasons and others, we are pleased to endorse your legislation and look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with you to enact this legislation into law.”