Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

July 25, 2013

Device tax punishes Hoosier workers, stifles innovation

For years, medical devices have been changing the lives of patients around the world.

Prosthetic legs have enabled wounded soldiers to run again. Cardiac patients have had decades added to their lives because of artificial heart valves and stents. A variety of innovative equipment, from surgical tools to bed pans, has significantly enhanced the quality of care at hospitals and other medical facilities.

Indiana is an international leader in the development of these technologies that continue to improve health care every day. Our state is home to more than 300 FDA-registered medical device manufacturers, who employ 20,000 Hoosiers directly and another 28,000 indirectly. These are jobs that on average pay 41 percent higher wages than the median wage rate in Indiana.

Unfortunately, many of these jobs and the continuation of the remarkable innovative advancements made possible by medical devices are in jeopardy. Tucked away in President Obama’s 2,000-page health care law is a 2.3 percent excise tax on total sales of medical devices on manufacturers. While this tax just took effect in January, device manufacturers have already paid over $1.5 billion in additional taxes.

This has denied device manufacturers resources to expand facilities, hire more workers and invest in research and development. Down the road, this costly tax could force many medical device manufacturers to ship good-paying American jobs overseas.

Given the importance of the medical device industry to Indiana, the country and the patients it serves, Congress must repeal this damaging tax that unfairly punishes a successful industry providing employment to thousands of Hoosiers and Americans. No job creators or workers from any state should be singled out to help pay for the administration’s political priorities.

Without congressional action, the medical device tax is expected to cost device manufacturers roughly $194 million per month, putting 43,000 American jobs at risk, according to the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed). A 2011 study released by AdvaMed estimated 2,124 Hoosiers could lose their jobs as a result of this tax.

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