Health Care

Medical device groups blame ObamaCare tax for job losses

Opponents of ObamaCare’s medical device tax released a pair of reports Wednesday that portray a dim future for the industry unless the controversial policy is repealed.

A survey of 100 executives by the Medical Device Manufacturers Association found that three-quarters of companies slowed or halted hiring to pay the new tax.

Another industry group, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), warned that the tax will cost the country as many as 39,000 jobs, a finding that it described as a “call to action” for Congress.

That group’s survey, which included 55 member companies, found that 46 percent of companies are considering future decreases in hiring if the tax is not repealed.

The surveys are the industry’s attempt to fight back against Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports that show the tax has a minimal economic impact.

The nonpartisan research group’s latest report found that between 47 and 1,200 workers could lose their jobs, a figure that was disputed by AdvaMed executives.

“CRS could never have come to the conclusion they did if they had actually talked to anyone in the medical industry,” David Nexon, AdvaMed senior executive vice president, told reporters Wednesday.

AdvaMed’s survey estimated that about 18,500 workers would be laid off and about 20,500 positions would be not be created over five years.

The medical device industry is one of the biggest winners in the lobbying world under the GOP-controlled Congress. Leaders of both chambers have pledged to repeal the tax, though President Obama has threatened to the veto a bill to do so.

The repeal effort has drawn fire from some conservatives, who say only big companies would benefit while millions of people continue to suffer from other parts of ObamaCare.

Healthcare experts have also warned that the effort to repeal the medical device tax could prompt other industries to launch their own lobbying campaigns.

Device lobbyists have been quiet about how to make up for the lost revenue, though AdvaMed’s president and CEO, Steve Ubl, said Wednesday that it “not entirely clear that the bill will need to be offset.”

The medical device tax remains one of the only parts of ObamaCare that has bipartisan support for repealing, with Democratic senators such as Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) voicing support.  

“It’s not just a tax on medical companies. It’s a tax on medical progress,” Ubl said, urging Congress to advance the legislation.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Elizabeth Warren

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