Administration Updates / AMAC Action Signature Issues / AMAC Action's Response / Coronavirus / Healthcare / Small Business / Social Security / Taxes

AMAC Secures Key Policy Wins in CARES Act

AMAC

This afternoon, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) which adopts a number of policy recommendations made by AMAC and takes additional measures to support America’s seniors. Passage of the CARES Act temporarily concludes a whirlwind of rapid legislative and executive action during the past several weeks. AMAC Action’s team worked in close consultation with Congressional leaders and the White House during the coronavirus bill negotiations which were frequently torpedoed by Democrats’ demands to pile on pork unrelated to the coronavirus crisis and oftentimes stretched late into the night. The final bill is the product of compromise and not perfect but our team supports the President and his need to take swift action to address our current health crisis. The White House and Congress adopted a number of AMAC’s formal recommendations in the CARES Act which the President just signed including:

  • To repeal or defer IRA Required Minimum Distributions. Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) limit the ability of seniors to make wise investment decisions based on market actions. AMAC’s government affairs team told Congress that government regulation should not force anyone, especially seniors, to liquidate savings in a “personal” account. In line with AMAC’s recommendation, a temporary waiver has been put in place on Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rules for IRA’s in the calendar year 2020.
  • To suspend the penalties for early withdrawals from retirement accounts during 2020. AMAC urged Congress to renew Section 202 of the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 which would help those individuals and families facing increased economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. Direct cash payments to most Americans are set to go out in a number of weeks but in the meantime for retirement savers who need immediate liquidity, the CARES Act removes the 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal for distributions up to $100,000.
  • To protect Social Security benefits from federal governmental garnishment. Social Security benefits are off limits to nearly all creditors, but not the federal government. Uncle Sam can garnish Social Security benefits for certain debts, including federal student loan debt cosigned by retirees. Our legislative team has consistently recommended permanently fixing this issue to protect all Americans’ social security regardless outside of their financial circumstances. We were pleased to see Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announce earlier this week that the department will stop garnishing Social Security benefits to pay for student loans in default.
  • Preventing price fixing and keeping patients’ options open. The AMAC Action team worked to ensure that harmful language that would price fix fees for direct primary care physicians, limit how funds in health savings accounts (HSA) could be used and restrict patient options was removed from the CARES Act. We also worked to protect patients by having language that would have established federal benchmarking for surprise medical billing arbitration stricken from the bill. AMAC Action is advocating for a fair and equitable arbitration process that would use an independent, third-party database of private claims data to negotiate hospital and physician fees, not fees chosen by insurers and mandated for use by the federal government.
  • To enact principles from the Physician Pro Bono Care Act, H.R. 856. Our team continues to push Congress to pass the Physician Pro Bono Care Act HR. 856 which provides a tax deduction for physicians offering charity care while also protecting these physicians from frivolous lawsuits. A key provision adopted in the CARES Act protects health care professionals from nuisance suits for providing volunteer medical help during COVID-19.

Other support in the recently signed CARES Act includes:

  • Direct support for seniors and mature Americans. Many Americans will receive cash payments of $1,200 for singles and $2,400 for married couples plus $500 per dependent child. AMAC worked hard to make sure that you are eligible for a direct payment even you claim Social Security Insurance benefits. The cash payments will be “phased out” starting with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 single and $150,000 for married couples, based on your 2019 or 2018 tax returns. If you did not file returns and are on social security, the IRS can use your Form SSA-1099 Social Security Benefit Statement or your Form RRB-1099 Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement to send your check. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that checks will be sent “within three weeks” to people for whom the IRS has information. According to the IRS, if you have received a tax refund in the last two years by direct deposit, that’s where your money will be sent. If not, the IRS will mail a check to your “last known address.” For information or details on your personal eligibility please consult with your financial professionals.
  • Keeping small businesses operating. The CARES Act provides over $300 billion for America’s small businesses to keep their workers on payroll in the form of refundable Small Business Administration loans. The bill also allows small businesses to defer tax filing and certain tax payments. These are temporary provision and a deferral, not a tax forgiveness program. AMAC supports providing relief to keep main street’s doors open and making sure that America’s recovery is driven by small businesses which employ the majority of the work force.
  • Providing urgent resources for hospitals. The CARES Act provides funding of $145 billion for urgent resources to doctors and hospitals that are quickly being filled with coronavirus patients. Much needed resources like masks, ventilators, diagnostics, and other equipment will be allocated to hospitals, doctors and other frontline providers. AMAC fully supports making sure our doctors are well equipped to care for their patients.
  • Expansion and promotion of telehealth. The CARES Act contains provisions to expand and promote telehealth which will help patients visit with their physicians from the comfort of their own homes. Among other improvements, the legislation allows high-deductible health plan holders with a health savings account (HSA) to cover telehealth services prior to them reaching the deductible. AMAC supports the expansion of telehealth services in the bill which is aimed at increasing access for patients who may have the COVID-19 virus while keeping others safe from potential exposure.

The Treasury Department and IRS are still developing taxpayer guidance on how parts of the legislation will be administered so please be sure to consult with your tax professionals or accountant on your own personal financial situation relating to all recently passed legislation. You can visit our dedicated COVID-19 Resources page frequently at: https://amac.us/coronavirus/ for the latest updates.

We believe like the President does that recovery is on the horizon and that the country will come out of this crisis stronger and more united than before. As AMAC continues to push for your priorities in Washington, DC, we are encouraged to see Congress enact these common-sense policy changes. Our active membership played a large role in helping us achieve these policy wins so thank you for staying engaged and we look forward to keeping you updated on more positive developments out of Washington, DC.

 

-Your AMAC Action Team

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Judie
9 months ago

I want to know when we are going to stop this “fake crisis” nonsense and let this county go back to work. The entire country has been shut down because the left and right coasts have a problem. Lets get the Baseball season started, remove the delay on the Daytona 500, and all of the other American activities. The “fake crisis” virus stats do not measure up to the Flu season stats that comes around every year. We are doing exactly what the Democrats want to do and that is destroy the USA .

Nelaura Hamby
9 months ago

Thank you for this article which explains facts in terms that are understood by the average person!!

Ladonna
9 months ago

My husband receives social security and received his 1099 I do not so i did not receive the 1099 ……This year we did not have to file taxes do they intend on cross checking the 1099 ‘s to past (2018) taxes?

GG Peterson
9 months ago

Can AMAC push to eliminate these stimulus bills packed with pork and push for legislation that would be “one bill one issue?” No more 1500 pages of pork leaden bills packed with excess garbage not pertaining to what the bill is intended for.

Judie
Reply to  GG Peterson
9 months ago

Agree.

Jim
9 months ago

what pork did the Dems get???What should have been included is TERM LIMITS FOR CONGRESS!! This would be a bill that only allows 2 terms, does not grandfather any Congress person, No Health care for life and NO PENSIONS ever!!

Judie
Reply to  Jim
9 months ago

I would like to know that also.

Bob L.
9 months ago

The “CARE ACT”, another in a looong line of misnamed legislation is one of, if not the biggest assaults on the Constitution and Bill of Rights since 1913, only outdone by the declaration of the current false “crisis”.

Is this “crisis” the NWO takeover of America that is now 2 years behind the latest delayed target year? President Reagan’s surprise election caused the first 8 year delay by interrupting the string of Globalist in the White House, a string that resumed in 1989.

Connie
9 months ago

Is anyone working on eliminating the Federal income tax on social security distributions? This is double taxation.

Bob L.
Reply to  Connie
9 months ago

Someone should be working to repeal the 16th Amendment which would take care of not only taxing SS distributions, but go a long way toward reeling in overgrown government.

Eloise
Reply to  Bob L.
9 months ago

And while we’re at it, repeal the 17th Amendment. GET SOME CONTROL BACK.

Centurion
Reply to  Connie
9 months ago

We have billie bob serial rapist cliton to thank for the double taxation of our Social Security benefits. The democRATS (aka demon-communist-cRATS) are greedy ba$tard$.

Nebular Novice
Reply to  Connie
9 months ago

People won’t like this, but taxing Social Security distributions is not really double taxation. We were taxed on our “contribution,” but were not taxed on our employers’ contributions nor the increase beyond the original payments. Consider an IRA with after-tax money in it. You still pay tax on the increase.

I had two primary objections (other than that I would prefer not to pay more tax). First was original adoption had too little notice for retirees. That is long gone. Second was that the amount taxed is arbitrary instead of being computed. Still not double taxation, just sloppy taxation.

Laurel Ann Porro
9 months ago

Why do seniors who already receive social security need a direct support check which is meant for those who are suddenly out of work? I do not need this, nor do I want the additional income, as I will have to claim it as income on my taxes. Please explain why AMAC lobbied for this.

Word of Truth
Reply to  Laurel Ann Porro
9 months ago

Laurel, the direct support check is not counted as taxable income. If you don’t need the money you can always spread it around by giving generous tips or gifts to those who need financial help. It will be a boost for them and make you feel good as well.

Julie
Reply to  Word of Truth
9 months ago

Laurel, if you don’t need the money give it to an agency like the Salvation Army. They will put it to good use

Kurt Jahnke
Reply to  Laurel Ann Porro
9 months ago

Tax Free

wendy
Reply to  Laurel Ann Porro
9 months ago

Laurel, that was my question. II am a senior and do not need the stimulus check in addition to my social security check. The money given to seniors on social security could have been better used elsewhere, for people who really need it.

AM
Reply to  Laurel Ann Porro
9 months ago

The country needs the infusion of that money into the economy!! Buying something somewhere keeps people employed!! Give the money to somebody you trust, who needs it to buy food or or pay their rent/mtg. Your money is BETTER handled by YOU than the government!!!! ?

Steven Donoho
9 months ago

Fixing the Windfall Elimination Provision, WEP, should have been included. At a bare minimum, this onerous law should be means tested to avoid, like me, having a 40% penalty applied and reducing my Social Security check by that amount. My combined income, pre WEP, was around $2,000/month. Why must I pay the same penalty as a Congressman with ten times the income?

Nebular Novice
Reply to  Steven Donoho
9 months ago

That 40% is overstated. WEP can’t be that high. For one thing, it limited to no more than one-half your pension from non-covered employment. For that reason, you do not pay the same penalty as a Congressman. My WEP is about 10% of my Social Security distribution.

I don’t particularly like WEP, but the problem is the Basic Social Security distribution formula.

Steven Donoho
Reply to  Nebular Novice
9 months ago

Pre-WEP application $1,020 After WEP $600. I don’t think I over-stated it.

LML
Reply to  Nebular Novice
9 months ago

My SS should have been approximately $1100/month. I have been getting less than $500/month. It can be anywhere from a 40-60% reduction according to the SSA.