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Pence pleads for end to medical device tax

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Republican Gov. Mike Pence wrote a letter Monday urging members of the U.S. Senate to vote to repeal the medical device tax that is helping to finance Obamacare.

But the Senate on Monday night voted to table an amendment that would repeal the tax, with all 54 Democrats voting to maintain the tax.

In his letter, Pence told lawmakers that companies affected by the tax employ 20,000 Hoosiers.

“The medical device tax is especially problematic for Indiana because the industry has been a fertile source of job creation in our state,” Pence wrote. “Between 2002 and 2009, the Hoosier state added more than 8,800 life sciences jobs, 5,600 of which were in the medical device sector.”

The Republican-led U.S. House passed legislation early Sunday that delays the federal health care law and repeals the medical device tax, which imposes a 2.3-percent charge on the sales of all medical devices. It was part of a continuing budget resolution meant to keep the federal government operating.

“This awful tax is a job-killer that puts America’s competitive edge at risk at a time when our labor force participation rate is at its lowest level since 1978,” Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District, said in a statement. “I was proud to stand before my colleagues and ask them to add a repeal of the medical device tax – an issue that enjoys bipartisan support – in the continuing Resolution.”

The Democratic-led Senate voted to reject the House proposal, although a majority of its members have supported repealing the medical device tax. U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, joined his colleagues in voting against the House plan.

“Sen. Donnelly is a co-sponsor and strong supporter of legislation to repeal the medical device tax,” said his spokeswoman, Elizabeth Shappell.

“He does not, however, believe that delaying the health care law by threatening to shut down the government is a responsible approach,” Shappell said. “It is his hope that Congress can take care of the business of keeping the government operating, then consider repeal of the medical device tax and other common sense proposals that would help improve the health care law and boost Indiana’s economy.”

Some of Indiana’s biggest companies have pushing for a repeal of the tax. Last spring, Cook Group Chairman Steve Ferguson the tax “threatens regional economic vitality, badly needed jobs and patients’ hopes for new, life-saving products and treatments.”

“Thousands of layoffs in the U.S. have already occurred because of this tax,” he said.

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  • Mike
    You can use the Google machine to find lists of taxes and job descriptions. Congratulations. And you can follow that up with the standard and so very tired "you're unemployed" insult. Well done. You've ably demonstrated that you can completely miss the point and willfully ignore salient facts in your fevered defense of big business. Kudos. Ayn would be proud.
  • Pence Is Out to Lunch
    Governor Pence exaggerates anything he can to make the Affordable Care Act look bad. He is an ideologue on this issue and appears to have no concern for the thousands of Hoosiers that do not have health care. The 2.3% tax is peanuts when you look at the mark-ups hospitals charge on various procedures. Jobs are not being lost--the hospitals simply pass on the cost to consumers who have no idea what something will cost when they go to the hospital. How did we ever elect this guy as governor?
  • Re: Actually
    I'm enlightened to learn that no one except for six people have ever benefitted from Wal-Mart. Fascinating! This means that every manager, cashier, truck driver, greeter, warehouse worker, part-time helper, and all of the other 2MM employees are better off unemployed. You should probably tell them all to quit their job, because otherwise what a waste of time! I'm guessing you should use facebook or some other form of social media like twitter to tell the 2MM employees that they should quit, because that's a lot of phone calls and flyers to have made. This also implies that there have only ever been six shareholders of WMT stock, a publicly traded company. I find that hard to believe with the daily volume being in the millions. Since corporate tax, state sales tax, FICA, FUTA, payroll tax, dividend tax, capital gain tax, import tax, county tax and local tax exist and further that WMT would be the 19th largest economy by itself, your point about WMT being a taker is not just silly, it's wrong. It's Wednesday, the middle of the working week for those of us who find ourselves employed. You can enjoy your midweek weekend and the rest of your week(s) off. But seriously, have a great day!
  • And
    If you think people "vote with their wallets" in healthcare, then you know even less about healthcare than you do about macroeconomics. Have a nice weekend!
  • Actually actually
    Just one Walmart store, ONE, in Wisconsin costs the taxpayers $900,000 in federal subsidies. Again, that's ONE store. It makes no sense economically to replace every independent business with one single company full of part time workers. None. Especially when that company then relies on the federal government (that's you) to keep their workforce fed and clothed while exactly 6 people actually benefit from that company's success. This isn't armchair quarterbacking, it's math. It's Econ 101. Most of us got over Atlas Shrugged when we learned those two.
  • Actually
    So the 197,000 sqft Wal-Mart SuperCenter employs the same number of employees as the Mom & Pop store that shutdown because their business could not compete? Since 42% of total sales at WMT come from people making less than 40k per year your stance that they have not helped anyone but the Waltons is moot; especially since 51% of revenues come from the grocery side of the business. By the way, Wal-Mart employs 2 million people, so your flippant comment that 'millions of Wal-Mart employees are on federal assistance' implies that every employee is on federal assistance and is simply not true. I enjoy the fact that the owners, employees, shareholders, suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, and end-users of the companies like Cook, Medtronic, Stryker and hundreds of others have enjoyed success together. If they didn't have a viable product the company would cease to exist because people vote with their wallets. So rather than get upset at successful members of society, why not try to emulate their success instead of denigrating it? I'm guessing because it's easier to armchair quarterback the societal economic woes than to actually do something about it; that would require 'work.'
  • Really?
    Then why are communities all over the country fighting to keep WalMart out? WalMart, because of its size, has the purchasing power to undercut every other mom n pop in the community, eliminating those businesses. Then, it hires those workers (part-time, of course) at a non-living wage, lowering the tax base and effecting every other business in the area. And so the cycle continues until finally you have once-vibrant, unique communities that are now wage-depressed ghost towns. And all because you wanted a cheap T-shirt made in China. Boy, that sounds like freedom to me.
  • Atlas Shrugged
    Is it possible that Wal-Mart has made the lives of many Americans better by providing jobs and less expensive shopping choices on everything, including food, while also enriching the family that had the vision to start, manage and grow it? No, you're right it can't be both. Especially since it is easier to ask for someone else's share than to actually work for it.
  • Libertarians...
    I love guys like "John Galt." Millions of workers on WalMart's payroll have to get federal assistance (aka tax dollars) so that 6 Walton family members can personally have more wealth than the bottom 42% of Americans and that makes sense to him. Likewise, companies like Cook create a company that enriches less than 20 people, who then use their wealth to quash actual market forces and that's somehow a Libertarian utopia. You guys make zero sense.
  • Double speak
    Why is it that Republicans scream long & loud about deficent spending, yet want "tax breaks"? At some point you have to quit giving away tax revenue, pony-up and pay taxes that are due. This applies to all. End the tax-breaks to get the ledger sheet back in the black. With the tax-code having pages added with each dollar of the federal deficit, its no wonder we can't pay our bills. Ya gotta stop diggin to get out of a hole. ya know?
  • Success Less
    Are you all upset because you didn't form a company that helps people live better and longer? Or just upset that someone else has risked everything and become successful while you gripe about 'wealth distribution' from the comfort of the couch. Producers vs Looters indeed...
  • Lobbyist In Chief
    Does Mr. Pence work for the people of Indiana or for the medical device industry? Hoosiers need health insurance that the Governor has does nothing to expedite, yet he's happy to shill for one industry? May I see the campaign contribution reports, please!!
  • Proof please
    Unfortunately in this day and age anyone can make a ridiculous claim and the sound bite will get picked up by the media and replayed over and over. Republicans automatic reposnse to everything is 'thousands of jobs lost' without having to justify their statistics.
  • No effing way!
    A 2.3% excise tax has not resulted in the layoff of anyone. Its just another scare tatic by the GOP.
  • Transparency needed
    Cook Group Chairman Steve Ferguson claims that "thousands of layoffs" have already occurred in the U.S. because of this tax.........hold on a minute....I want to see actual statistics in print of the actual number of layoffs that may have happened. Don't insult my intelligence by just throwing out some number without showing proof of reality. That is fear mongering at it's best. This country needs to force price transparency on the manufacturers of these medical devices. The very same device is sold at widely varying prices depending on whom it is sold to, where it is sold, what middle man is selling it, and on and on and on. They refuse to sell it to every buyer at the same price. This is not capitalism. It is price gouging and should not be allowed.
  • markup
    Please, the markup on these products is astronomical. In addition, under ACA more people will be able to obtain procedures that utilizie these devices.
  • Obstructionist
    This is why he should have never be elected as Governor. Gayle Cook net worth, 5.2 Billion.

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