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Cook Group Inc. owner says health reform's tax on medical devices could kill jobs

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Bloomington-based Cook Group Inc. might have to cut as many as 1,000 local jobs if Congress enacts a tax on medical devices to pay for health care reform, company founder Bill Cook said in an interview.

Cook, who also proposed his own plan for health reform recently, didn’t say his medical-device company would cut those jobs for sure. But he said automating Cook Group’s plant in Bloomington would be one of the company’s first responses and that the medical-device maker could easily cut out 1,000 jobs.

He said the company also might have to scale back on its clinical trials of new products, an effort that employs about 325 people in West Lafayette and Bloomington.

“It would force us to the end of creativity,” Cook said, adding, “There are so many things we couldn’t do in the style that we do them today.”

The tax that drew Cook’s ire is part of the Senate version of health care reform. It would assess the medical-device industry $4 billion a year, divvying up the fees based on each company’s market share of certain classes of devices.

Cook said his company sells $600 million of those devices. The tax, which would deduct 4 percent from top-line revenue, would cost Cook $30 million a year, boosting its tax rate from about 38 percent to 68 percent.

The company is the largest maker of aortic and lower-body stents—small metal tubes that prop open arteries. It also makes a variety of other grafts, catheters and other products implanted through minimally invasive procedures. The company has annual sales of $1.5 billion.

Cook noted that Congress’ proposed expansion of health insurance coverage won’t really help medical-device companies because they aren’t paid by health insurers, but by hospitals, who are on the hook whether the patients they serve have insurance or not.

Cook said Congress is on the wrong track with health care reform. Instead of focusing on expanding health insurance, he called for Congress to immediately fund a network of community clinics that would provide free or low-cost care.

“Access, access and more access is the name of the game,” he said.

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

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