Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, economy, Health, money, news

Coronavirus Business Closure List Grows

In March, the National Association of Restaurants predicted 14% of stores to close in the following month as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Then Business Insider reported 3000 stores were slated to close this year on top of the 12,000 predicted last year.

Although automation and online sales threatened retail’s survival prior to COVID reaching the US, the pandemic accelerated and augmented many more closures.  Statewide shutdowns to prevent viral spread and slow reopenings that mandated less patrons and social distancing is taking its toll on businesses.  Less volume means less revenue, and mandates to reduce customer volume is preventing companies from making a profit, let alone breaking even.

Low Business Volume: How do Businesses Survive on Restrictive Social Distancing Guidelines?

 

While millions of business still remain shuttered, losing money each day, eyes have been on the companies who have been allowed to reopen with hopes they can jumpstart the economy.  However, optimism for future solvency is waning as the country watches them struggle.  Deterring clients breaks every rule in business doctrine but is now the new normal in hopes of satisfying social distancing requirements.

 

Companies who had to temporarily close are contemplating ever reopening. Some however are considering bankruptcy or plan to permanently close some of their stores, salons or restaurants. These include:

  • Macy’s
  • Sears
  • Kmart
  • JC Penney
  • Niemen Marcus
  • Nordstroms
  • Gap Inc
  • Hallmark
  • Walgreens
  • Bed Bath and Beyond
  • Forever 21
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • SSM Health
  • Souplantation
  • Sweet Tomatoes
  • Applebee’s
  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Steak ‘N Shake
  • Bravo Italian Mediterranean
  • Brio
  • IHOP
  • Pizza Hut
  • McCormick and Schmick
  • Red Robin
  • Marie Calendars
  • and more

Neighborhood markets, salons, medical offices, rural hospitals and pharmacies and others couldn’t be listed here as they are too numerous to count.

Congress tried to bail out many small businesses with CARE ACT funding, which will provide much needed relief, but its temporary.  With no end in sight to the new regulations and low customer volume, many businesses will not be able to hold out.

It takes more than money to keep a business alive.  Hope, work culture, employee ambition and customer faith are necessities for a company’s survival.  For us to get these back, COVID-19, or our fear of it, will need to disappear.

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in coronavirus, Covid-19, economy, Health, money, news

What Side Are You On If You Want to Reopen Businesses While Saving Lives? #CommonSensers

Image above from Dreamstime

The media has made the country appear divided into 2 factions: those who want strict shutdown measures and those who want Disneyland to reopen. People are accusing each other of undermining a city’s attempt to limit COVID deaths, while others are alleging political gain of a “hyped-up” disease.

Yet the majority of the US falls somewhere in the middle:  concerned of rising COVID deaths while at the same time hoping to avoid another Great Depression.

So many of us fall under the group “Common Sensers” or “Level Headers”.  We realize that the SARS-Co-V-2 virus is deadly but also realize defunct cities and economies cause devastation as well.

So what do we stand for?  It’s simple…common sense…..

  • Release of data sets showing the following
    • Numbers of people who came down with COVID, became sick as a result and died
    • Numbers of people who died of a secondary illness once exposed to COVID
    • Numbers of people who were sick with other ailments while also testing positive for COVID, but cannot be confirmed that COVID induced secondary illness
    • Numbers of people who were presumed positive for COVID who could not be tested due to lack of testing
    • Numbers of people who tested positive for COVID with no symptoms
    • Numbers of people who tested positive for COVID with mild symptoms
    • Numbers of people who became sick while in lockdown
    • Numbers of people who became sick while working at an “essential” work place
  • Release of data sets of which medications worked for which populations and how soon treatment needed to be implemented
  • Release of data sets of deaths caused by flu, pneumonia, heart disease that were non-COVID related
  • Release of data sets and “live timelines” of vaccine development
  • Work from home and shopping options for those who may be at high risk for COVID
  • Online school options for at risk children
  • Testing for those who want to return to work, allowing them to if negative for active antigens 
  • Customers asked to stay home if they are ill
  • Workers allowed access to masks and frequent handwashing
  • Business allowed to reopen with choice given to the public on if they want to avoid crowds (as many do during flu season)
  • More hospitals, medical centers and ICU units being built
  • Return of medical and dental facilities which have closed and are resulting in preventative care being delayed

As you see many of us want answers and choice when it comes to our health and economy.  A person who wants to see the economy thrive again is not guilty of causing COVID deaths, just as a person who wants to protect their loved ones from a deadly virus is not trying to turn the country communist.  If rhetoric gets scaled down balances can be achieved bipartisanly…….just use common sense…..

#CommonSensers #LevelHeaders

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.

 

 

 

 

Posted in economy, Health, money, news, pets, taxes

Medical Tax Deductions You Never Thought You Could Use

It’s tax season and most of us are hoping to shave a few bucks off our tax bill.  Well many are not aware of the deductions that are available when it comes to medical expenses.

If you spent over 7.5% of your adjusted gross income on unreimbursed medical expenses during 2019, you may be able to deduct what you spent over this 7.5%, according to the IRS.

So, for example, if you make $100,000 a year, 7.5% would equal $7,500.  So lets say you spent $10,000 on medical expenses, subtract the 7.5 % ($7,500) from $10,000, and the remaining $2,500 is tax-deductible.

But the expenses made can also include those of your spouse, children and dependents. Combined, these could qualify you for descent deductions.

Publication 502 breaks down what services or items you purchased in 2019 that are tax-deductible and which are not.  Here’s a brief summary:

Tax Deductible Items:

  • Abortion (legal)
  • Acupuncture
  • Alcohol and Drug Treatment
  • Ambulance Service
  • Annual physicals
  • Artificial Limbs
  • Artificial Teeth/Dentures
  • Bandages – so supplies for wounds, burns, nose bleeds

 

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  • Birth Control Pills
  • Home Improvements
    • under the “Capital Expenses” section, the IRS states the following:
    • You can include in medical expenses amounts you pay for special equipment installed in a home, or for improvements, if their main purpose is medical care for you, your spouse, or your dependent. The cost of permanent improvements that increase the value of your property may be partly included as a medical expense. The cost of the improvement is reduced by the increase in the value of your property. The difference is a medical expense. If the value of your property isn’t increased by the improvement, the entire cost is included as a medical expense.
      Certain improvements made to accommodate a home to your disabled condition, or that of your spouse or your dependents who live with you, don’t usually increase the value of the home and the cost can be included in full as medical expenses. These improvements include, but aren’t limited to, the following items.
      • Constructing entrance or exit ramps for your home.
      • Widening doorways at entrances or exits to your home.
      • Widening or otherwise modifying hallways and interior doorways.
      • Installing railings, support bars, or other modifications to bathrooms.
      • Lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets and equipment.
      • Moving or modifying electrical outlets and fixtures.
      • Installing porch lifts and other forms of lifts (but elevators generally add value to the house).
      • Modifying fire alarms, smoke detectors, and other warning systems.
      • Modifying stairways.
      • Adding handrails or grab bars anywhere (whether or not in bathrooms).
      • Modifying hardware on doors.
      • Modifying areas in front of entrance and exit doorways.
      • Grading the ground to provide access to the residence.
  • Mileage (20 cents a mile for trips to medical office/lab/hospital)
  • Transportation (Uber, Taxi, Bus ride to medical office/lab/hospital)
  • Breast feeding/pump supplies
  • Medications that were prescribed by a provider
  • Hearing Aids
  • Insurance Premiums
  • Oxygen
  • Contact lens/glasses
  • Crutches
  • Service animal – and most of their expenses

 

dog costumw

 

  • Lodging and Meals when going to out-of-town medical facilities
  • Nursing home
  • Nursing expenses
  • Pregnancy tests
  • Wigs
  • Wheelchairs
  • Vasectomies
  • and the list goes on

 

Unfortunately the following cannot be written off:

  • Gym memberships
  • Cosmetic surgery (unless for reconstruction after cancer or trauma/disfigurement)
  • Dance lessons – despite using it for weight loss
  • Funeral expenses
  • Maternity clothes
  • Insurance premiums that were covered by the employer
  • Over the counter medications and supplements
  • Teeth whitening

 

shutterstock_small-whitening-300x214.png

 

So review the list and see what you can apply to your 2019 itemized deduction worksheet.  But make sure you have your receipts and logging of car mileage…. and start keeping track this year as well!

 

 

 

IMG_1781

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.