Op-Ed: Repeal the “Heart Attack Tax” Now
Repeal the “Heart Attack Tax” Now
The following is an Op-Ed sent in by Lisa Wilson Foley, a Republican Candidate for Congress for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District. Lisa is a small business owner and health care professional.
By almost 70 percent, the American public wants the U.S. Supreme Court to find the Affordable Health Care Act, known as Obamacare, unconstitutional. The decision is scheduled for late June and I hope that the court decides that the individual mandate – requiring free citizens to buy insurance – is sent to the judicial outbox.
However, if the Affordable Health Care law is not overturned, it is important for our elected leaders to be vigilant with any of the “surprises” one finds in the 2,054 page law that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a straight Democrat party-line vote.
One of those provisions was repealed this week when a bi-partisan group of Congressional members voted to prevent a 2.3 percent tax on medical equipment – MRI scanners, defibrillators and pacemakers – among other life-saving devices. The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate where, sadly, its fate is less than promising. Even if the Senate did follow the House vote, it is unlikely that President Obama would sign it into law.
This so-called “heart attack tax” will then be passed down to patients and payers who will ultimately bear the brunt of the cost, again driving up the price of care.
Such a tax increase will not only affect the health care system, but it will severely impact another badly damaged part of our economy – job creators.
Several sources predict that the medical device industry will lose upwards of 40,000 jobs as a result of the tax. This will also hurt innovation and discourage research and development in an industry that has been perceived as a growing part of our private sector economy here in Connecticut. Less innovation will result in fewer jobs, less opportunity and more lay-offs. In an already struggling economy, more jobs will go overseas and more Americans will be out of work.
If the Supreme Court’s verdict requires Congress to go back to the drawing board, it will be a unique opportunity to get health care reform right. Let’s build upon what is good about our system – innovation, dedicated caregivers and informed patients. National reform can address the acute problems but we should rely on the states to come up with their own proposals to make health care affordable, less bureaucratic and defensive – while driving new innovations and treatments.