The Fiscal Cliff Has Been Avoided – For Now – Part 2

More meat-and-potatoes about the bill that avoided the Fiscal Cliff…

CLASS ACT REPEAL: The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 repeals the CLASS Act, and provides for the establishment of a Commission on Long-Term Care. According to some reports, President Obama agreed to repeal CLASS if Republicans agreed to raise taxes on the wealthy. Most experts believe that CLASS won’t be implemented until a Democratic majority in both houses makes changes in its structure and funding.

COMMISSION ON LONG-TERM CARE: The bill stipulates that the Commission on Long-Term Care will “develop a plan for the establishment, implementation, and financing of a comprehensive, coordinated, and high-quality system that ensures the availability of long-term services and supports.” The President, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, Speaker of the House, and House Minority Leader will each appoint three members, for a total of 15. These members will represent the interests of consumers, seniors, family caregivers, health care workers, private long-term care insurers, state insurance departments, and state Medicaid agencies.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS: The new bill will also include various tax extensions, among them the deduction of state and local general sales taxes, and the credit for energy-efficient appliances. Federal unemployment benefits would be extended for a year. The bill also extends Medicare programs important to seniors, including payment for outpatient therapy services and Advantage plans for people with special needs.

CHALLENGES AHEAD: This bill still doesn’t provide solutions to the sequester or the debt-limit debate. We reached the legal borrowing limit on December 31. The debt issuance suspension will last only through February 28. So Congress doesn’t have much of a honeymoon before the debate starts again. And when it’s finished with the debt-ceiling debate, Congress will have to find an answer for sequestration…and a means of financing government after the Continuing Resolution expires on March 27.

The 113th Congress will be dealing with issues such as tax reform, non-retirement accounts, exemptions, “loopholes,” and charitable deductions – along with hot-button entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.

You have to be a lawyer to understand it all. But we can help. Because we’re Elder Law attorneys.

At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve been helping South Florida families figure out the answers for 33 years. And we’ve helped them protect themselves from “complications,” with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, and assistance with Medicaid and the VA.

We can help you un-complicate things, too. And we’re just a phone call away.

The Fiscal Cliff Has Been Avoided – For Now – Part 2

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