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2013 AARP Survey Of Oregon Members On State Budget Issues: Senior Medical Deduction

Like many states, Oregon continues to face difficult budget challenges. In an effort to adequately fund essential services of education, public safety and human services, the governor and legislators are exploring various tax options. One option under consideration is related to the Additional Medical Deduction for the Elderly, commonly referred to as the Senior Medical Deduction.  

Some highlights for the report are:

The Senior Medical Deduction is a tax exemption that allows people 62 and older who itemize their deductions to claim all their medical expenses on their state income taxes.  

  • Even though only about four in ten (38%) claimed medical or dental expenses for the deduction on their 2011 tax return, many (65%) of Oregon members age 50 and older strongly or somewhat oppose eliminating the deduction.  AARP members surveyed were given a list of options on ways to modify or change the deduction, and most are in support of proposals that base the deduction on an individual’s income or age.   
  • Nearly two-thirds strongly or somewhat support a proposal that would phase-out the deduction based on income.
  • 53 percent somewhat or strongly support a proposal that would make the deduction proportional to the tax filer’s income and medical expenses.
  • Members are more equally split on a proposal to increase the eligibility age: 37 percent somewhat or strongly support increasing the eligibility age, while 41 percent strongly or somewhat oppose the age increase.   
  • Other proposals call for changing the deduction to a subtraction, which would remove the need to itemize deductions.  Four in ten (41%) members support this proposal, while 20 percent oppose this proposal.
  • About one-quarter of Oregon members age 50 and older are opposed to proposals that place caps on the Senior Medical Deduction.   While 26 percent say that they strongly or somewhat support placing a cap on the tax subtraction, 39 percent oppose the cap.  Additionally, 27 percent support placing a cap on the deduction amount; however, 43 percent oppose to a cap on the deduction.

This report is based on data from a mail survey of 2,000 AARP members residing in the state of Oregon fielded from November 28, 2012 through January 18, 2013.  For more information, contact Cassandra Burton at 202-434-3547.