During a stop today at Atrium Medical's Hudson facility, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) said she is encouraged by a recent Senate vote in favor of repealing an onerous new excise tax on medical devices. On March 22, the Senate voted 79-20 in favor of an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 budget resolution that calls for repealing the $29.1 billion Medical Device Tax, which took effect January 1 as part of President Obama's health care law. Because the budget resolution is non-binding - meaning it doesn't carry the force of law - Senator Ayotte pledged today to continue her fight to repeal the device tax.
Senator Ayotte spent time today meeting with Atrium employees and discussing the device tax, which threatens New Hampshire jobs and stands to increase costs for consumers. Today's visit is the latest in a series of stops Senator Ayotte has been making at medical device companies throughout the state. Last week, Ayotte visited Medtronic in Portsmouth.
"Medical device manufacturers across New Hampshire have told me this tax will make it harder for them to invest and grow, and could result in job losses," said Senator Ayotte. "I've worked for over two years to roll back this tax on innovation, and I will continue to fight for its repeal in the Senate."
Trevor Carlton, President and CEO of Atrium, said, "The team at Atrium Medical is pleased that Senator Ayotte has taken the steps to understand the serious taxation challenges and regulations facing the medical device industry. Without intervention, one of the fastest growing and most successful industries in the United States is at great risk of faltering. We are confident Senator Ayotte will continue to educate her fellow legislators on the importance of repealing the medical device tax to keep driving job creation and investment in such a key industry."
Senator Ayotte, who has long supported repealing the tax, was a co-sponsor of the repeal amendment. During the last Congress, she backed a similar amendment to the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, as well as a stand-alone bill, the Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act (S. 17), which Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced to repeal the tax. Senator Ayotte helped reintroduce the stand-alone legislation (S. 232) earlier this year.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that several medical device companies have notified hospitals that they are implementing new surcharges and price increases to cover the costs of the device tax. Medicare's Chief Actuary has estimated that the tax will increase national health care costs by $18.2 billion in 2018. A 2011 study estimates that the tax threatens 43,000 jobs nationwide, and could result in $3.5 billion in lost wages. New Hampshire is home to about 50 medical device companies employing nearly 3,500 people.
PHOTO (left-right): Ted Karwoski, Chief Development Officer & Executive Vice President of R&D; Trevor Carlton, President & CEO; Senator Ayotte; Jim Fitzgerald, Vice President of Operations; and Gary Sufat, Chief Financial Officer