An above-the-line tax deduction for long term care insurance premiums–a top federal legislative priority for life insurance agents–is unlikely to be approved by the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress, says the top lobbyist for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.
However, healthcare issues are likely to be a high priority for the new Congress, with some long-term Democrats seeking a return to the long-dormant discussion of the controversial single-payer program, says Michael Kerley, NAIFA senior vice president of federal relations.
Kerley says the cost of healthcare is quickly rising to the top of the federal legislative agenda because NAIFA agents, for example, are finding that for both employees and employers of small businesses, costs are rising so high they are crowding out funding for other needs, such as pensions and other benefits.
At the end of the day, however, and for a variety of reasons, the new Congress is likely to delay action until after the 2008 presidential season on the most politically sensitive healthcare issues, Kerley says.
On other key life insurance agent legislative issues:
–Action on “meaningful” estate tax repeal is unlikely in the lame-duck Congressional session that started Nov. 14.
“It is hard to believe the Democrats will allow the proposal for almost full repeal that was before the Senate in early August to pass,” Kerley says. “Something less, however, could pass, something that loses perhaps 50% of the current revenues raised by the estate tax.”
–There is virtually no likelihood the Bush Administration’s tax reform and Lifetime Savings Account proposals will be considered by the new Congress.