Protect Ohio seniors from rising health care cost

Ohio seniors’ medical costs are too high — and unless Congress acts now, they’ll face a tax hike next year on top of that.

Even with Medicare, too often, our seniors face extra health care costs for prescription drugs, copayments and therapies. And anyone on a fixed income can tell you these costs add up quickly.

That’s why Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and I teamed up with a bipartisan group of senators and AARP to introduce legislation to stop this tax hike from going into effect by maintaining the threshold to claim the medical expense tax deduction.

Right now, a higher tax threshold is set to take effect this upcoming tax filing season, and could result in a higher tax bill for many Ohio seniors. Our bill, the Seniors Tax Hike Prevention Act, would ensure we maintain the current tax deduction threshold for two additional years, so Ohio seniors can have peace of mind that their taxes won’t go up because of sky-high medical bills.

Last week, I talked with Susan Culbertson from Zanesville, a senior who struggled to cover high medical cost after she’d been diagnosed with inflammation of the brain. While getting treatment for her diagnosis, Culbertson also was a caregiver for her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s and faced the accompanying sky-high medical bills.

Seniors shouldn’t be left with the impossible decision of choosing between putting gas in the car and filling needed prescriptions, or between going to the doctor and going to the grocery store.

Deducting the cost of going to the doctor and buying expensive prescription drugs is something we should all be able to agree on. This is a simple, bipartisan step we need to take, right now, to protect seniors from extra costs next year.