I am deeply disturbed by several provisions of the tax bill under consideration in the Senate.

The elimination of the medical expense deduction is disturbing. Those of us who have benefited from this deduction understand the high bar needed to qualify. When a chronic illness impacts your family enough to demand more than 10 percent of your income out of pocket, you’re already dealing with enough difficulty. The tax credit helps to allay a small bit of the painful economic side of illness.

The elimination of the individual mandate is the equivalent of removing protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It leaves me cold. I shudder to think of the ramifications for people with MS and other serious chronic illnesses, the elderly, and those with seriously ill children.

Our state and our country cannot afford to move backward on this one issue. As a nation, we rightly insist that hospitals treat the sick or injured, regardless of insurance; it only makes sense to insist that everyone have the coverage to pay for that care and to make that coverage accessible. The ACA got this one right.

There are permanent tax breaks for the wealthy, but phased-out breaks for the middle class. This is so blatantly perverse, what senator would consider such a bill? We need to simplify the tax code, but let’s start with eliminating the loopholes at the top as we decrease that highest bracket.

The cost of bill to our national deficit and long-term debt are so high that I am astounded that any self-respecting fiscal conservative would vote for this package. We should learn from the absolute failure of the Kansas “trickle-down” tax reform experiment. We should be able to develop a zero-sum formula that will be fairer and simpler.

Robin Steinwand

co-chairwoman

National MS Society Government Relations Committee in Maine

St. Albans