Neal Dunn Backs Proposal to Offer Health Providers Some Tax Relief During Coronavirus Pandemic

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., is backing a proposal to offer tax relief for health providers as they try to help with COVID-19.

Dunn is backing U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne’s, D-Iowa, “Eliminating the Provider Relief Fund Tax Penalties Act.”

“In response to COVID-19, Congress authorized $175 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF) to help health care providers cover expenses and lost revenue due to the pandemic. While the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has utilized the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) to distribute this critical assistance, providers that pay federal taxes face significant tax penalties that undermine the utility of the aid,” Dunn’s office noted.  “The Eliminating the Provider Relief Fund Tax Penalties Act of 2020 would ensure that all health care providers, regardless of taxpaying status, will not be subject to taxes on aid provided through the PRF – and guarantees expenses attributable to the PRF are tax-deductible. By guaranteeing that PRF relief funds do not add to providers’ tax bills, health care leaders can utilize to the full value of their benefit.”

Axne introduced the proposal on Wednesday and she offered her take on why she introduced it.

“Our nation’s health care providers are working tirelessly to combat COVID-19. Our hospitals, rural health clinics, and community health centers have been working on the frontlines to combat coronavirus, and countless others have worked to continue serving our communities during this public health emergency,” said Axne. “It is critical that every dollar of assistance to our health care providers can go as far as possible to keep people safe and healthy. Our bipartisan legislation will ensure that we aren’t shortchanging our providers by approving aid with one hand and taxing it with the other. A hospital’s tax bill should not stand between our providers and the patients who need their care.”

“Our health care providers have gone above the call of duty this year. Providers fighting on the frontlines should not have to face an undue tax burden as a consequence of accepting COVID-19 related aid,” said Dunn who is a physician. “The physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, home health aides, lab technicians, and countless other health care professionals who have sacrificed for our country deserve our thanks and this bill is a step in the right direction.”

A host of groups including the American Medical Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, the American Optometric Association, the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Dental Association and the American Association of Homecare are backing the proposal.

“While treating patients on the front lines of COVID-19, physicians have endured challenges to keeping their doors open. They have struggled to secure personal protective equipment to prevent community spread while also seeing a reduction in non-emergency procedures. The American Medical Association appreciates that Congress created the Provider Relief Fund to help physician practices respond to the multitude of fiscal pressures associated with COVID-19, and this bill would build on that original effort,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, the president of the American Medical Association. “The tax penalties for entities that receive Provider Relief Fund grants threaten to exacerbate the economic troubles that Congress sought to alleviate through enactment of the CARES Act.  We applaud Reps. Axne and Dunn for introducing this bipartisan, common-sense bill and urge quick passage to ensure the maximum effectiveness of the Provider Relief Fund.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday. So far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

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