Sen. Scott Brown Takes Aim at the Medical Device Tax10/19/11
Sen. Scott Brown Takes Aim at the Medical Device Tax
Three years after the economic turmoil of 2008, our troubles persist. Unemployment and under-employment remain painfully high, and millions of Americans find their livelihoods under attack by economic and political forces they cannot control. People are hungry for good news, and employers are desperate for the kind of economic stability that allows for higher profits, reinvestment and expansion.
All eyes are on Washington, but so far, the many attempts to improve the economy have failed, and some efforts have made things worse. President Obama’s health care law is a key example of a Washington-built roadblock to job creation. Many of its provisions have formed a cloud of uncertainty over employers as they take into account the impact that new taxes and regulations will have on their bottom line.
One such provision that poses a threat not only to job growth, but existing jobs as well, is the new medical device tax. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, medical device manufacturers will have to pay a new 2.3 percent excise tax on revenues starting in 2013.
With more than 260 medical device firms that employ nearly 24,000 workers and contribute more than $4 billion to our state’s economy, the Commonwealth simply cannot afford to have the medical device industry targeted with a tax. As such, the repeal of the medical device tax was one of the first pieces of legislation I co-sponsored as a U.S. Senator.
If enacted, this harmful tax will put American workers at a competitive disadvantage and chase jobs overseas. According to a study by the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), the medical device tax would likely cost 43,000 jobs across the country, with a loss of $3.5 billion in wages. Massachusetts alone is estimated to lose over 2,600 jobs—about 11 percent of our entire medical device manufacturing workforce.
This tax captures the essence of why new jobs have been hard to come by. Rather than being able to focus on building their companies, Massachusetts’ medical device manufacturers have to figure out how to offset the cost of President Obama’s health care law. With fourteen million Americans looking for work, the opposite should be true. Washington should not only spare our employers of having to grapple with burdensome new laws, but create more favorable conditions for businesses to grow.
Although repealing the medical device tax fits into the category of a common-sense, pro-jobs measure, it’s been difficult to get Congress to act. In fact, many worthy pieces of legislation aimed at spurring job growth and economic development are trapped by partisan gridlock. In an effort to bridge the divide, I’ve called on the leaders of both parties to shift the focus away from politics and towards bipartisan jobs policy.
Recently, I reached out to Senate leadership about a number of areas where both parties have historically found common ground. My goal is to build coalitions and seek out people who will work in good faith to move America forward and keep good-paying jobs in Massachusetts. I believe keeping the focus on finding the areas where we can agree is our best chance to boost the economy. Repealing the medical device tax, which has implications for people and businesses in states all across the country, would be a good place to start.
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