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    2018: The Year of Fighting Harder

    By Dr. Marcy Adelman–

    Just as I sat down to write my end of the year column, news broke that the GOP tax bill had been finalized and appears to have the votes to pass. This Draconian measure of a tax cut does not portend well for 2018.

    The proposed tax bill will damage the country’s ability to develop affordable housing for low income seniors and will cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance. It will impact California and San Francisco’s ability to provide affordable housing and health and social services for older adults and people living with disabilities.

    The Republicans have recklessly thrown together a bill that, by all accounts, will primarily benefit corporations and the very wealthy. The tax cuts will result in a trillion plus dollar deficit that will most likely be used to justify cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security Disability. According to the latest Justice in Aging report, the tax bill would automatically cut Medicare funding by 25 billion dollars per year.

    In the past, we could have relied both on California state and San Francisco County income tax money to backfill reductions in federal funding for health care and social services. But the GOP tax bill would remove this option by eliminating the state income tax deduction. The essential senior services and programs that millions of older adults and seniors have come to rely on—such as meals, transportation, health and wellness programs, to name a few—would be reduced, or, in some cases, disappear entirely; a catastrophe for the health and well-being of millions and millions of older Americans. People’s lives and wellbeing will have been jettisoned for the sake of ideology. 

    This bill attacks the country’s ability to fund and build affordable housing. The bill’s reduction of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% will significantly lower the incentive for corporations to buy affordable housing tax credits. Tax credits have been the primary source of affordable senior housing funding. Tax credits reduce the cost of construction, thereby making housing units less expensive and more affordable to low income older adults, working families and people living with disabilities.

    California and San Francisco are already struggling to meet the housing needs of low income older adults. The lack of desperately needed affordable senior housing means more people will be vulnerable to living on the streets. This cannot be a consequence that anyone wants, or is it?  In a culture where enough is never enough, greed blinds people to the consequences of their actions on the people around them. 

    Repeal of the ACA individual mandate is another crisis in the making. This repeal would result in fewer healthy people purchasing insurance. The loss of healthy people in the insurance pool will result in higher premiums. Older adults, who generally have higher levels of health care needs, will not be able to keep up with the cost of the coverage. Higher premiums will result in more than 10 million people going without insurance.

    Be prepared to fight like hell. We need to redouble our efforts to get out the vote. If you haven’t yet, consider joining one of the grassroots resistance organizations such as MoveOn, Indivisible, Swing Left, or Run for Something. Here is a link to a list of emerging grassroots organizations: 

    Support national and local advocacy groups such as ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, NCLR, SAGE, The LGBTQ Task Force and Openhouse.

    My New Year’s resolution is to fight harder, fight smarter and never to give up.

    Marcy Adelman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice, is co-founder of the non-profit organization Openhouse. She is also a leading advocate and educator in LGBT affirming dementia care and a member of the Advisory Council to the Aging and Adult Services Commission.