The medical device industry continues to spew dubious, self-serving “evidence” that the Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax is killing jobs and should be repealed (“Device tax cost 4,500 jobs in 2014, industry says,” Jan. 29).
Interesting that the Star Tribune tax story was next to one that local device maker St. Jude Medical has positive growth prospects despite “head winds” of a strong dollar affecting business overseas. As with other reports of robust med-tech growth, the company didn’t mention downsides of the medical device tax, likely because the tax simply isn’t an important factor.
In truth, industry job-loss claims due to the 2.3 percent tax are not supported by objective analyses, including those by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, by Bloomberg Government and by an industry consulting group Emergo (based on industry surveys). The Washington Post’s Fact Checker said evidence for job-loss claims is “pretty skimpy” and awarded two Pinocchios because the claims suffer “significant omissions and/or exaggerations.”
So why do Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with “progressives” like Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison, continue parroting discredited industry claims as they join ACA opponents to repeal the device tax? They know repeal would cost $3 billion annually that’s needed to support health care subsidies for low-income folks.
Klobuchar promised any lost revenue would be made up elsewhere in the budget, but bills she and Franken support have no such “pay-for.” Worse, the bills would return $6 billion to the industry that’s already been collected by the tax over two years.
Tax repeal would give a very wealthy industry a huge windfall on the backs of the poor. And so, if a moneyed special interest is in your back yard (as the medical device industry is in Minnesota) is it OK for otherwise progressive politicians to wildly distort facts on behalf of that interest regardless of how the poor are hurt? No, it’s not OK; it’s embarrassing.
Ron Way lives in Edina.