Senate Health Care Bill Raises Taxes on Special Needs Children, Their Families

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Health Care Bill Raises Taxes on Special Needs Children, Their Families

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 20
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The statistics are scary when it comes to the percentage of unborn children born with special needs who become victims of abortion. One fiscal conservative group says the task for parents raising such children is made more difficult by extra taxes found in Harry Reid’s new Senate health care bill.

The measure has already been condemned by pro-life groups and the Catholic bishops for its abortion funding and this latest analysis won’t make it any more endearing.

Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform notes that the bill contains 18 separate tax increases — one of them targeting parents of disabled children.

"One of them caps the amount that can be deferred in Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) at $2500 per year (a similar provision was included in the Pelosi-Obama health bill)," Ellis notes.

"There is currently no limit to how much can be saved, though all monies must be used by the end of the year. Employers may put a cap in place for their employees, but this would put a cap in federal tax law for the first time. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), 30 million American families use an FSA," he explained.

Most Americans won’t notice a $2,500 cap as FSAs tend to be used for things like small deductibles, co-payments, eyeglasses, over-the-counter medicines, and laser eye surgery.

But parents of special needs children will, he says.

"There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly-cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children," he said today.

"There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year," Ellis added.

In fact, IRS Publication 502, Medical Expenses, explains how, under current tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education

"You can include in medical expenses fees you pay on a doctor’s recommendation for a child’s tutoring by a teacher who is specially trained and qualified to work with children who have learning disabilities caused by mental or physical impairments, including nervous system disorders," the guide notes.

"You can include in medical expenses the cost (tuition, meals, and lodging) of attending a school that furnishes special education to help a child to overcome learning disabilities," the IRS adds.

"Overcoming the learning disabilities must be a principal reason for attending the school, and any ordinary education received must be incidental to the special education provided. Special education includes teaching Braille to a visually impaired person; teaching lip reading to a hearing-impaired person, or giving remedial language training to correct a condition caused by a birth defect,’ the guide adds.

If Ellis’ analysis is correct, the unborn and the disabled are further victimized under a bill that is already fraught with concerns over abortion, rationing and the promotion of assisted suicide.

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