U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL-13) today offered her strong support to legislation that would repeal a new excise tax on medical devices. The 2.3 percent tax, which was included in the Administration's 2010 health overhaul, applies to all medical devices ranging from imaging equipment to joint replacements used in hip surgery. Critics have pointed out that the tax will stifle research on new medical innovations, raise the cost of care for patients, and destroy jobs in an industry that employees more than 400,000 Americans.
"We should be working to lower the cost of care, not make it more expensive," said Biggert. "These taxes become part of the cost that patients pay for treatment. A special tax on medical devices not only makes it harder to afford care, it forces the device makers to cut costs and invest less in research on new surgical implants and other technologies that may save lives. These are good, high-paying jobs that will be lost if Congress doesn't repeal this misguided tax. Our House bill also offers consumers the extra flexibility to use their own health savings money on allergy drugs, cold pills, or other medicine they need to stay healthy."
Later today, Biggert and her House colleagues will vote on H.R. 436, the Health Care Cost Reduction Act, which would repeal the tax. The bill also allows consumers to use money in tax-free health savings accounts for over-the-counter medicines and ends the automatic forfeiture of unused contributions to an individual's flexible spending plan. To offset the loss of federal tax revenue, the bill also recaptures overpayments of federal subsidies under the Administration's health overhaul.