Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

July 25, 2013

Device tax punishes Hoosier workers, stifles innovation

(Continued)

Rather than encouraging job creation and innovation, this tax delivers a significant blow to Hoosier success stories like Cook Medical in Bloomington. Cook founder Bill Cook was a pioneer in the device industry and grew his company from the spare bedroom of his apartment into the world’s largest family-owned medical device manufacturer. Today Cook Medical is a worldwide health care leader that produces technologies used across the globe. And the business Bill Cook built remains an important Hoosier employer with a long history of corporate reinvestment in Indiana.

It is not just large businesses like Cook that are negatively impacted by the medical device tax. I recently heard from a growing company in Warsaw that develops products for the underserved pediatric market. Due to the device tax, this company has shelved two important research and development projects it hoped to start this year. Instead of working on solutions to relieve a wheelchair-bound child’s discomfort, the company has been forced to reallocate its resources to pay this tax.

To protect American device manufacturers and the patients who rely on these life-saving technologies, I am supporting legislation to fully repeal the device tax. I backed identical legislation during the last Congress, but now our bill has gained the support of several Senate Democrats. In fact, earlier this year, the Senate passed an amendment to the budget by a vote of 79-20 supporting a full repeal. While this vote sent a strong bipartisan message to the White House to abandon its tax on medical device manufacturers, the budget amendment was non-binding so Congress must pass separate legislation to repeal the tax.

Congress must build off of this momentum and remove this unnecessary and unfair tax burden on the medical device industry. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that President Obama’s medical device tax jeopardizes jobs, increases costs on consumers and impedes innovation. In these tough economic times, we need to be encouraging job creators like device manufacturers to expand and hire instead of hamstringing them with debilitating taxes that prevent growth.

Sen. Dan Coats is a Republican from Indiana.

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