Representative Erik Paulsen (MN-03), a member of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, attended a hearing this afternoon discussing the tax-related provisions in the President's health care law. The subcommittee heard from a panel of witnesses including three leaders from U.S. medical device companies. In February, Rep. Paulsen introduced the Protect Medical Innovation Act, bipartisan legislation to fully repeal the new 2.3% excise tax on American-made medical innovation. The bill currently has 203 cosponsors in the House and a companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. Excerpts from the hearing below:
"I do share the deep concern that has been expressed by many of the members here, as well as the folks who have testified here this morning, about how the Affordable Care Act - or the taxes that are in the new law - have actually contributed to the rising costs of health care and are putting now a heavy burden on some of our best job creators.
"As co-chair of the Medical Technology Caucus and as the chief-author of the bill to repeal the device tax, I have a particular interest in how this really destructive tax has been harmful not only to America jobs, but also innovation -- and also patient care. Now already we've seen thousands of lay-offs in this industry, I mean that's pure and simple, that's thousands of lay-offs in a very dynamic, very vital industry that's in Minnesota.
"The President has repeatedly stated his objective to increase domestic manufacturing - American manufacturing - and I think the irony here that this is a policy that is being very harmful to achieving this goal as our witnesses have already pointed out. It's having the opposite affect primarily because this is a tax that applies to sales, not to profits, and it's going to raise the average tax bill by a third. Other countries are absolutely incentivizing these companies to make these products overseas while we're taxing and regulating unfortunately our best companies out of existence.
"So this American success story I think needs to by protected and we can't take leadership for granted."
Paulsen, a champion of small business and advocate of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation, also serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, the chief tax writing committee in the House, and is co-chair of the Congressional Medical Technology Caucus.