Former US Senator Evan Bayh on the disastrous consequences of the looming medical device tax:
The Supreme Court decision in June upholding the Affordable Care Act leaves in place a tax on medical devices that threatens thousands of American jobs and our global competitiveness. It will also stifle critical medical innovation in the industry that gave us defibrillators, pacemakers, artificial joints, stents, chemotherapy delivery systems and almost every device we depend on to save lives.
The 2.3% tax will be charged to manufacturers on each sale and takes effect in January. Many U.S. device companies, in response, have already announced layoffs, canceled plans for domestic expansion and slashed research-and-development budgets. This month, Welch Allyn—a maker of stethoscopes and blood-pressure cuffs—announced that it will lay off 10% of its global workforce over the next three years, but all of the jobs being cut are in the U.S.
Given the fragile state of the U.S. economy, Congress must move quickly to redress the harm from this tax before it becomes irreversible.
The medical-device industry has been a great American success story. More than 400,000 U.S. workers are employed in this sector directly, and another two million, including those involved in supply and distribution, benefit indirectly. At a time when the economy struggles to produce good jobs, medical-device positions pay well. Average compensation is $58,188 annually compared with a national average of $41,673 annually for all employment, a 2010 Lewin Group report found.
Click here for the full WSJ piece.