MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Indiana Governor Mike Pence (R) issued a formal letter to the White House yesterday, asking President Barack Obama to repeal the 2.3% medical device tax created in the Affordable Care Act.
Pence asked for President Obama’s support in "working with the Congress to repeal the medical device tax entirely," saying that the levy threatens 20,000 direct jobs and 55,000 total that rely on the medtech industry in Indiana alone.
Indiana’s medtech jobs pay about 56% more than the average wage in Indiana, and most of those jobs don’t even require a college degree, Pence said.
"The medical device tax, therefore, hurts a wide range of working Hoosiers who, like their fellow Americans in other states, have found that it is often hard to come by good-paying jobs that do not require advanced degrees," according to the letter. "Repealing the medical device tax will allow companies to expand and grow jobs, not only in Indiana but across our great nation. This thriving industry should be allowed to innovate and grow, rather than be hampered by an industry-specific tax."
Indiana is home to some of medtech’s giants, including vocal device tax critic Cook Medical. Cook Group chairman Steve Ferguson told Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) at a House Ways & Means Committee meeting last year that the medical device tax is the "straw that broke the camel’s back" in terms of sending medical device manufacturing overseas.
Local reports suggested that Pence’s open letter to the White House may signal efforts to raise his profile, potentially for a president or vice presidential bid, according to the NWI Times.
Pence joined an ever-growing group of state government officials and members of Congress rallying to repeal the medical device tax. Last month Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) ramped up his opposition to the medical device tax by spending some face-time with local device makers and in February Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) bid to repeal the tax made it to the Senate Finance Committee.
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) earlier this year wrote his own letter to the White House ahead of President Obama’s visit to Minnesota, home of some of medtech’s biggest names, including Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ).
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