Conservative writers and med-tech industry advocates took the opportunity during the national holiday to reiterate grievances about the medical device tax contained in President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
A trio of articles released yesterday lambasted the tax as "destructive" "smothering," with conservative tax-reform activist Grover Norquist dubbing healthcare reform the "Obamatax."
"Obamacare was supposed to reduce the cost of health insurance but it has 6 taxes on Americans who already have health insurance," Norquist wrote. "Obamacare was supposed to "bend the cost curve down" but it has a tax on medical devices."
"What medical devices?" Norquist asked. "Braces for your kids. A stent for your heart. A wheelchair. All the cool stuff you see in hospitals will now cost more in order to pay Mr. Obama’s tax on medical devices."
It’s not the 1st time Norquist has taken a position against the device tax, a 2.3% levy on all U.S. medical device sales beginning Jan. 1, 2013, which Fox News placed 1st in its list of "5 major ObamaCare taxes that will hit your wallet in 2013."
"This 2.3" tax on medical device makers will raise the price of (for example) every pacemaker, prosthetic limb, stent, and operating table," Fox News reporter John Kartch wrote. "Can you remind us, Mr. President, how taxing medical devices will reduce the cost of health care?"
In March Norquist deemed the measure among the top Obamacare tax hikes that will negatively affect seniors and their access to health care.
In yesterday’s editorial, published in the Washington Times, he dubbed the President Obama’s landmark Affordable Care Act the "Obamatax," adding that "a vote for Mr. Obama is a vote for more than $5.5 trillion in higher taxes over the next 10 years."
Norquist was joined by med-tech industry lobbying group AdvaMed’s president & CEO Stephen Ubl in decrying the tax, which was left intact alongside the rest of the Affordable Care Act when Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts sided with his left-leaning peers in deeming the law constitutional.
Ubl called for the Democrat-led Senate to join forces with the U.S. House of Representatives in passing a bill that would repeal the medical device tax, which is expected to raise $30 billion over the next 10 years to support healthcare reform.
Last month the House passed the medical device tax in a contentious 270-146 vote , over the strong objections of Democrats who took offense to the GOP’s pay-for, which would take a stronger hand in recouping over-paid tax subsidies from low- and middle-income households.
In an editorial for New Jersey’s Star-Ledger Ubl warned that the state’s 20,000 med-tech jobs, which boast an average salary of nearly $70,000, hang in the balance as the industry faces "a huge burden."
"The total economic impact of the device industry in New Jersey alone is nearly $13 billion each year," Ubl wrote. "Given the value of the industry’s products and the growth of its workforce, legislators should be supporting and cultivating these companies — not smothering them. But that’s precisely what the device tax does."
Ubl noted that various studies have shown that the med-tech tax could cost the industry as many as 43,000 in lost jobs, more than $3.5 billion in employee compensation and research & development budget cuts of about $2 billion per year.
"America is still shaking off the effects of the recession. The last thing the government should be doing is saddling vibrant, job-creating firms with a stiff new tax," he wrote. "One of the best things Congress could do for the economy this year would be to pass this legislation and repeal the device tax."