Congressman Paul Cook

Representing the 8th District of California
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Rep. Cook Votes for Lower Healthcare Costs for Seniors and Middle Class

Sep 13, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for H.R. 3590, the Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 261-147.

H.R. 3590 will provide relief for Americans with expensive medical bills by repealing an Obamacare tax hike and restoring medical tax-deductions to previous levels. Specifically, the bill amends the federal tax code to lower permanently the medical expense threshold individuals may claim as an itemized deduction from 10 percent of their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to 7.5 percent of their AGI.

Rep. Cook said, “Healthcare costs continue to rise, and those who need the care the most get hit the hardest. Our seniors simply can’t afford to pay more for their healthcare. This bill stops a tax increase on our seniors and provides relief to the middle-class, allowing them to deduct more of their out-of-pocket medical costs.”

In 2013, Obamacare increased the threshold for deducting medical expenses, meaning taxpayers could only deduct medical expenses which exceed 10 percent of their AGI instead of 7.5 percent. Taxpayers aged 65 and older have continued to use the 7.5 percentage floor through tax year 2016. While the majority of Americans have already been impacted, beginning in 2017, seniors will also face this tax increase.

The Joint Committee on Taxation has found that nearly 40 percent of those who would receive immediate relief make between $40,000 and $75,000. The American Association of Retired Persons, which supports the legislation, has noted that “56 percent of all returns claiming the deduction had at least one member of the household age 65 or older.”

A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.