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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Obamacare will wreck medical device industry

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Thursday, October 11, 2012 12:01 am
One of the many ways in which the November election offers voters a clear choice is how it will affect Obamacare. If President Obama wins re-election, his Affordable Health Care Act will certainly survive intact. If Republican Mitt Romney wins, that doesn’t mean an automatic and immediate scrapping of the law in its entirety. But at a minimum it will mean a serious look at the law and major revisions.What the choice means overall is too complicated to fathom right now. The law is so massive and reaches so far into the health care system that it will be years before we understand all the consequences. We just know that the effects will be profound and could increase the health costs it was supposed to lower and further burden the economy it was supposed to help.

So just consider one small aspect of Obamacare with significant Indiana implications: the medical device industry. This growing field is a true American success story that today employs 20,000 Hoosiers and 400,000 Americans nationwide.

Beginning in January, medical device manufacturers will have to pay a 2.3 percent tax on their gross sales. This is one of the ways Obamacare is to be paid for, and it’s estimated to cost the industry more than $20 billion over the next decade.

The consequences of this tax are already being seen. Cook Medical announced that because of it, plans are being scrapped that would have built five new plants and added hundreds of jobs to the Indiana economy. Multiply that by all the other employers in the field who will alter their plans, and the blow to the economy is obvious.

This is such a bad idea that former supporters of Obamacare are bailing. Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh has called on Congress to repeal the medical device tax, even though he provided the 60th vote that allowed Obamacare to pass in the first place. Rep. Joe Donnelly, the current Democratic candidate for the Senate, also voted for Obamacare and now expresses regrets for the medical device component. Thanks for your concern, guys, but where were you when it counted? Did you take the advice of Nancy Pelosi that the details didn’t matter because we could find out what was in the bill after it passed?

Elections have consequences. It matters who we send to Washington. That gives you an easy choice. Should you send to the Senate, for example, a candidate who has pledged to end Obamacare or one who has expressed regret for supporting it? As Sen. Dan Coats said in a Politico opinion piece this week, we have a chance this November to “help correct the damage.”


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