The ever-feisty CEO of Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX), Ray Elliott, minced no words in expressing his contempt for the med-tech tax that’s part of President Barack Obama’s landmark health reform law today.
Calling the tax an "outrage" that’s "soaking one of the last remaining industries in this country" to pay high wages, Elliott told analysts at a conference in New York today that Boston Scientific "will have a lot less employees" if the tax goes into effect.
"It’s an outrage. It is soaking one of the last remaining industries in this country that pays 50 percent more per average income than the rest of industry. We’re the last remaining, as far as I know, major private segment that is trade-positive," Elliott said in remarks at the Morgan Stanley Global Health Conference this morning. "We’ve been very public with the president, with senators, with everybody. … It’s not our job to run the country. Our job is to run this business and produce for shareholders. We will have a lot less employees if somebody tags us for $100 million worth of taxes."
It’s not the first time Elliott has taken such a high-profile stand against the tax. Set to kick in during 2013, the 2.3 percent excise tax would apply to the top line of every medical device company selling in the U.S. In July, Elliott penned an op-ed piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune calling on Congress to repeal the tax immediately. He’s also been a vocal supporter of various legislative efforts to roll back the tax, including bids by Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Obama signed into law last year contains a provision that would require device makers to fork over 2.3 percent of their gross U.S. revenues beginning in 2013. The levy is designed to help pay for healthcare reform by raising about $20 billion over 10 years.