Log Cabin Urges Swift Approval of Viatical Incentives Provision in Health Care Bill
Fulfill This Contract With America Promose to People withy AIDS!
Washington - Log Cabin Republicans urged Republicans in Congress to support passage of HR 3103, the Health Care Coverage Availability and Affordability Act of 1996, which contains tax incentives for accelerated death benefits for people with AIDS and other terminally ill persons.
The provision, which was included in the Contract with America at the urging of gay Republican AIDS advocates, allows persons who are terminally or chronically ill with AIDS and other diseases to receive a tax-free accelerated death benefits, or vitaical settlements, if they choose. The provision was hailed by LCR as a Godsend to many people who would otherwise be unable to meet the high costs of living with AIDS.
"AIDS has proven to be a financially devastating disease, which affects people who are usually too young to be eligible for pension or disability benefits adequate enough to afford a reasonable standard of living," said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "Viatical settlements have rescued people with AIDS who might otherwise have fallen through the cracks of the system."
The House is scheduled to begin debate on HR 3103 tomorrow, and LCR urges all AIDS advocates to call and fax their Representatives immediately and call on them to vote in favor of HR 3103.
Sample Message to Congress
March 27, 1996
The Honorable 'first name' 'last name'
xofficea House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
RE: H.R. 3103 – The Health Care Coverage Availability and Affordability Act
Dear Representative 'last name':
I am writing to express our strong support for the language in H.R. 3103, the Health Care Coverage Availability and Affordability Act of 1996, which would extend tax-free status to the proceeds of viatical settlements of life insurance policies, and we urge you to support swift passage of H.R. 3103.
Viatical settlements, which accelerate death benefits, provide a free-market alternative source of badly needed funds for terminally ill people, particularly people with AIDS. Such agreements allow the patient and a private investor to settle on a cash payment in exchange for the patient naming the investor as the policy beneficiary. Many of these patients are too ill to work, leaving their homes and families in jeopardy, and viatical settlements give them a fair, private sector choice that is far more attractive than relying on public assistance.
AIDS has proven to be a financially devastating disease, which affects people who are usually too young to be eligible for pension or disability benefits adequate enough to afford a reasonable standard of living. Viatical settlements have rescued a wide range of terminally ill people who might otherwise have fallen through the cracks of the system.
As AIDS becomes an increasingly serious problem, increased incentives for viatical settlements will sustain and strengthen a humane and practical relief mechanism for the sick and their families, which also can greatly prolong the period before many of these patients qualify for Medicare and Medicaid assistance. Any cost to the federal government by granting tax-free status to viatical settlements will be greatly outweighed by the savings in entitlement benefits to those who would otherwise be financially ruined by terminal illness.
As Log Cabin Republicans represents thousands of gay and lesbian Republicans across the country, we are enthusiastic supporters of the Contract With America, which promised to pass this critical legislation on viatical settlements. We urge you to keep this promise and vote to pass H.R. 3103.