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Public Statements

Health Care Costs Reduction Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition of H.R. 436. We find ourselves, yet again, going through another Republican dog and pony show as my colleagues attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act bit by bit without replacing any of these pieces. I cannot even count how many of these circuses we have gone through this session. Instead of working for their constituents, my friends across the aisle are busy concocting schemes solely for political gain that will ultimately cost the American people, this time to the tune of more than $29 billion. That's right, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that if the medical device tax is repealed it will add to our deficit.

I think we would all agree that the medical technology industry is a critical industry, employing more than 400,000 workers nationwide and more than 9,000 in my home state. The work that they do is critical to keeping the American people healthy and to keeping our country competitive. During the drafting of the Affordable Care Act, the medical device industry, along with pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and hospitals, committed to doing their part to make health reform a reality. Advocating to repeal the medical device tax appears to me to be going back on that commitment to the President and the American people.

Supporters of H.R. 436 like to say the medical device tax hurts small manufacturers, but the reality is the ten largest manufacturers will pay 86 percent of the tax. These same supporters claim the tax will result in the loss of jobs, but they seem to forget about the millions of new customers that the ACA will provide device companies. It seems to me that if you have 33 million more people with the ability to access medical devices, companies may need some employees to help them meet this new demand. I agree that it is important that the medical device industry can continue to succeed, and I believe that the Affordable Care Act will do so.

In addition to abolishing the medical device tax, H.R. 436 aims to repeal the definitions the Affordable Care Act put in place for tax-advantaged flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts. A small minority of workers benefit in minor ways from these accounts, whereas millions of Americans will be guaranteed access to comprehensive, affordable health care through the ACA. By enacting these provisions the ACA raises over $4 billion. The Republicans think they will pay for dismantling the ACA with changes they already used to finance two earlier pieces of legislation. Dipping repeatedly into a pot of money that will force hundreds of thousands of citizens to forgo health care coverage is not a viable solution. While my colleagues speak about wanting to balance our budget and reduce our deficit they are busy repealing a tax that would add to our precarious fiscal circumstances and taking away provisions enacted in the ACA that generate vitally needed dollars. And, my friends, we are all aware of the age old axiom that actions speak louder than words.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation is not a constructive use of this body's time. We cannot re-litigate the debates of the past. If we are to improve the health care that we are delivering to patients, and inspiring and encouraging innovation in our industry, I stand ready and willing to work with my colleagues on bipartisan legislation that will do so.

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