By Jennifer Peryam
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock made a stop in Warsaw Friday afternoon to discuss the medical device tax on the orthopaedic industry.
Mourdock visited the Times-Union office to discuss part of the pending health care plan that will impose a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices to help pay for health care costs.
Another attempt to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax set to be levied on companies like Biomet, DePuy and Zimmer next year passed through the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday.
The committee approved four health care-related measures in session.
The medical device tax is a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama.
Known as Obamacare, the bill's future remains in doubt as a decision from the Supreme Court on its unconstitutionality is expected in coming weeks.
The Indiana medical device industry is a $10 billion industry that employees more than 20,000 Hoosiers. Mourdock referred to the medical device tax as "job killing."
"This tax is the opposite of economic growth, putting jobs at risk and is the wrong policy and it's one we have got to get away from," Mourdock said.
"The more we know about Obamacare the worse it gets because initially it was going to be a $969 billion cost and now the congressional budget office says it will cost $1.76 trillion," Mourdock said.
He condemned the Obamacare tax on medical device makers. He said it is threatening economic growth and job creation in Indiana.
"When we think of medical devices we tend to think of artificial hips and limbs, but this also is a tax on everything from beds to bed pans," Mourdock said.
He said by putting in an additional 2.3 percent tax, healthcare costs increase and that encourages more businesses to go offshore because the tax would not apply to them and would give them a competitive advantage.
He said all of Obamacare needs to be repealed.
Mourdock said Obamacare is about more than healthcare, and said it is about the government having access to every part of citizens' lives.
"This is why it should be struck down and repealed," Mourdock said.
Mourdock faces Democrat Joe Donnelly in the November general election, who voted in support of ObamaCare.
Mourdock said there is a clear difference between himself and Donnelly.
"First of all Donnelly voted for Obamacare and I would have not voted for it and ObamaCare includes this tax," Mourdock said.
"Mr. Donnelly is sitting waiting to play politics with this until it is convenient to make a decision and I think that is deplorable."
Mourdock said Donnelly had a chance for a long time to sign onto the bill to repeal the tax, and has not done it.
Mourdock said what needs to be done if ObamaCare is still in place Jan. 1, it needs to be repealed and there needs to be a better healthcare plan established.
He said this month the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on weather or not ObamaCare is constitutional.
"No matter what they do, this healthcare bill will be the issue going into November," Mourdock said.
"The House, Senate and president would need to sign the bill into law and I think it's not likely that the president will sign it into law since it's striking at the very heart of ObamaCare," Mourdock said.
Mourdock also was asked about a Republicans For Donnelly Group that has formed.
The small group of six people whose formation was announced Thursday says it will work for Donnelly.
The group says it won't support Mourdock because it doesn't like his rejection of bipartisanship and his refusal to compromise.
Mourdock said he is aware of the group.
"I have never seen a bipartisan bill yet that didn't lead to bigger government," Mourdock said.
"I am making the point that big government is our problem and we need to reduce the size of government so we can live within our means so we can pay down our debt."
Mourdock said to Democrats it means making government bigger, and he said that is not in his nature.
"Making government bigger is a threat to the well-being of people because it is consuming taxes causing the country to go deeper into debt," Mourdock said.
After visiting the Times-Union Mourdock met with Dane Miller, founder and director of Biomet.
Before Mourdock's stop in Warsaw Friday, he and Republican Indiana Senator Dan Coats toured C & A Tool, Churubusco. The facility makes specialized components for the aero space, auto and medical technology industries.