On November 16th, the House of Representatives passed a tax reform bill, and within the next week, it is expected the Senate will vote on their version of the bill. There are major differences between the House and Senate versions, and to become law, both houses of Congress must come together to develop and pass a single piece of legislation. As they stand, these bills both provide large, long-term tax breaks for corporations and the very wealthy, with smaller, short term cuts for middle class individuals. Should Congress succeed in passing tax reform legislation in either bill’s current form, there are considerable implications for our communities.
The Senate tax bill includes an elimination of the ACA’s individual mandate. The individual mandate helps stabilize the health insurance market. Without the penalty for not having insurance, experts believe the cost of insurance will skyrocket, leading to a loss of coverage for millions of people. This rise in insurance premiums will likely cancel out any tax breaks for the middle class and will be coupled with an increase in subsidies, increasing federal cost.
The tax bill will increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion and trigger mandatory offsets, likely to include cuts to Medicare. The Congressional Budget Office estimates Medicare would be cut $25 billion each year for a decade. These cuts will result in loss of coverage and services.
Health Expense Deduction
The House bill includes an elimination of the deduction for health expenses that are over 10% of household income, exacerbating the cost of healthcare for the extremely ill.
Both bills double the standard deduction for single and married individuals, which is positive for many individuals and families. This increase in the standard deduction reduces the amount of income on which individuals or couples must pay federal taxes, but is countered by the elimination of the Personal Exemption, which also allows for untaxed income. Both bills eliminate the deduction for state and local income and sales tax (SALT). The House bill retains part of the property tax deduction, capping it at $10K, while the Senate repeals it entirely. Both bills increase the child tax credit for each child and for other dependents. In the Senate version of the bill, unfortunately many beneficial tax cuts for the middle class expire in 10 years.
The Annual California Urban Indian Health Conference will be held on Friday, June 23rd and Saturday, June 24th at the Hyatt Regency (Capitol View Room), Sacramento. CCUIH will host a dinner reception on Friday night.
Pre Conference Event: Urban Indian Health Day at the Capitol, Thursday, June 22nd.
Hotel Room Block Reservations
Reservations at the Hyatt for June 21-24 can be made at this web address:
Steps for Registration:
There are two registrations for this conference. If you plan to attend both the Day at the Capitol on Thursday June 22nd, as well as the Friday and Saturday on sessions on June 23rd and 24th, please complete both registrations.
1.) To register for the Urban Indian Health Day at the Capitol, please fill out the registration form below. Scheduled time for this event is yet to be finalized:
2.) To register for the Urban Indian Health Conference sessions on June 23rd and 24th, please fill out the registration form below:
The Indian Health Service/California Area office (IHS/CAO) and the 104 federally-recognized tribes of California will hold a grand opening of the Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center (Desert Sage), located at 39990 Faure Road in Hemet, on March 1, 2017. A traditional dedication will take place from 10:00 – 11:30 AM and the grand opening ceremony will begin at 1:00 PM.
You can make a reservation for the event here.
Currently, most of California’s AI/AN youth who receive residential chemical dependency treatment are sent out-of-state to non-IHS/non-tribal facilities. These facilities have been unable to address unique cultural needs, offer effective family therapy, or meet the growing need in California. Desert Sage will treat approximately 100 youth per year and will expand and complement existing IHS-funded, Tribally managed behavioral health services in California.
The 35,355 square foot youth regional treatment center (YRTC) will offer basic medical care, mental health assessments, individualized treatment plans, structured chemical dependency programs, individual/group/family therapy, credentialed education, vocational and life-skills training, traditional/spiritual healing, and cultural activities.
Desert Sage was designed for sustainability and is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. Interior features include classrooms, computer lab, art room, commercial kitchen, dining area, cultural space, exam rooms, employee offices, five family suites, indoor half-court gymnasium, and weight room. Exterior features include an outdoor basketball court, walking/exercise trails, and an outdoor water feature/amphitheater. The residential unit is divided into four separate quadrants and is designed to house 16 male and 16 female residents, age 12-17.
Desert Sage will offer a credentialed education program with on-site instruction. Curriculums will be tailored to each individual’s needs. Credits will be transferred to the youth’s local school upon completion of the program.
Aftercare is one of the most important and often the most challenging aspect of recovery. It is important that once youth return to their communities, they stay engaged in the recovery process. Because of limited resources, the IHS cannot extend rehabilitation/aftercare services beyond the facility boundaries. Intake/aftercare coordinators will work with families and local personnel on the discharge planning process as soon as the youth is admitted to Desert Sage.
This new facility will help raise the current and future health status of AI/AN youth in California and we are excited for its completion.