Tuesday, January 6, 2015

More Scare Tactics: Repeal Medical Device Tax on the ACA or Else

More of the Same from the Grand Old Poops 
(Some DEMS have signed on, too - just to be fair)

First watch this very good segment on the subject here from MSNBC - about 7 minutes:

Then consider this fine article about the Pros and Cons of repealing the medical device tax (posted here from Forbes.com), in part:

The tax has been in effect for over a year and a half and some say the negative effect on U.S. sales of medical devices persists. Note this analysis on the largest manufacturers of such devices (anything ranging from tongue suppressors to artificial hips and knees):

Of the ten largest medical-device companies (as defined by the online trade publication, Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry), it is possible to discover relevant information regarding the tax’s impact from eight of them as they all indicate that U.S. sales are flagging, relative to international markets due to the tax:

  1. Johnson & Johnson Johnson & Johnson’s medical device and diagnostic sales were down 1.5 percent in the U.S., versus up 1.8 percent internationally, in the first half of 2014.
  2. Siemens Siemens reported that healthcare orders were down in the Americas, for the first nine months of 2014.
  3. General Electric reported that the U.S. healthcare market continues to be “challenging”, and sales shrank by 2 percent in the second quarter, versus up 2 percent in Europe.
  4. Medtronic’s U.S. sales for the 2014 fiscal year were up 1.7 percent, versus 5.9 percent internationally.
  5. For Baxter, U.S. sales of medical products were down 15 percent for the quarter ended June 2014 in the U.S., versus up 8 percent globally.
  6. Fresenius’ U.S. sales of dialysis products were down 1.2 percent in the first half of 2014, versus up 0.6 percent internationally.
  7. Philips report for the first half of 2014 states that: “comparable sales in Western Europe were flat and other mature geographies showed low single digit growth, while North America recorded a low single-digit decline.”
  8. Covidien does not clearly segment U.S. sales from international sales in its results. Nevertheless, during the nine months ending in June 2014, Covidien’s excise-tax liability was $47 million. For the same nine months ending in June 2013, it was only $30 million.
So, the business environment in the U.S. continues to deteriorate, versus international markets. And these are the largest, global medical-device manufacturers, which can more easily overcome U.S. weakness by beefing up international sales. Perhaps that explains why large firms have added jobs.

Then a different view on the same subject here, also in part:

If you’re interested in the Affordable Care Act’s 2.3% medical device excise tax (pro, con, or neutral), you should read the Congressional Research Service’s economic analysis of it. You might also want to pay attention to The Center on Budget and Policy Priority’s take.

Though no stranger to the limelight, repeal of the tax has received growing attention in wake of the midterm election that will bring a Republican majority to the Senate. But the politics of the tax has far outpaced its economic import

My view based on the above: Repealing as noted in the segment would “blow a funding shortfall hole” in the ACA (and natch, the GOP’s loves that since it would weaken the law – which is their long term aim anyway). Also, note that the actual tax would be smaller than the 2.3% - why? The big medical guys get plenty of tax breaks and write off's ... and still they make a bundle ... they can afford it I am sure. 

Of course that or anything else would hurt people who now by the millions finally have decent affordable health care, some for the first time in their lives.  

One wonders how the GOP can be so callous and cruel about health care that they are this persistent in their aim to toss this law and thus be against healthcare for millions? In fact, not one GOPer even voted for the bill back in 2010 – so, what leg do they have to stand on, or what claim can they make about any part of the law they oppose so much. My first hunch: None, not one single part.

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