Hegseth PiPress Op-Ed – Happy Klobuchar’s Medical Device Tax-iversary
I’m not sure if Tax–versary is proper English, but it seems a rather fitting way to mark Amy Klobuchar’s record as it affects Minnesotans. US Senate candidate Pete Hegseth has an Op Ed in the Pi-Press on this 2 year anniversary of Klobuchar’s own Obamacare.
With unemployment still high and businesses uncertain about the future, policy-makers must look for ways to improve private-sector job growth and provide stability and predictability to Minnesota job-creators. Unfortunately, our current political leadership in Washington has not done that.
When I talk to employers, they often say they are terrified about what might be coming next from Washington. A perfect example is the $20 billion medical device tax contained in President Obama’s health care bill. This tax is set to go into effect in less than a year and will have an immediate and devastating impact.
The medical device industry employs 27,000 people in our state with an average salary of $63,500 – contributing more than $14 billion to our economy. Minnesota can’t afford another tax that targets one of our state’s economic bright spots. If the tax is allowed to take effect, nonpartisan experts expect major job reductions, with more than 2,700 med-tech jobs lost in Minnesota alone. The 83,000 Minnesotans employed as an indirect result of the industry will also be holding their breath.
The effect nationwide is even more staggering. A study by the Hudson Institute predicts that 43,000 jobs and $3.5 billion in corresponding wages will be lost due to this new “Obamacare” tax.
When it was passed, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House at the time, said Congress needed to pass the 2,000-page health care bill so we could find out what is in it. We’re finding out more every day, and it is bad news for Minnesotans, employers and workers.
The $20 billion in medical-device taxes will be passed on to the patients who rely on such devices every day. The new tax will be charged on artificial limbs, surgical scalpels – even wheelchairs and hospital beds-making health care even more unaffordable and inaccessible to struggling families. In addition, it will have a dampening effect on research and development.
The law already has had a chilling effect on health care innovation, as medical device companies look overseas to develop lifesaving technology with lower taxes and fewer burdensome regulations. Countries like China pounce on opportunities to lure U.S.-educated engineers to develop their medical technology industry. Almost 90 percent of medical technology companies expecting to increase job growth foresee the majority of it occurring overseas. This must change.
This week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke at Medtronic, one of the few medical device companies large enough to absorb the tax. However, scores of other small and midsize medical device companies in Minnesota will be hung out to dry.
It defies common sense that any Minnesota senator would vote in favor of a law that so directly and negatively impacts such an important Minnesota industry. Additionally, the medical device tax inherently favors big companies (and their teams of lobbyists and lawyers) over small and midsize companies, creating a cozy culture between big business and bureaucrats.
We need to look for ways to encourage – not tax and stifle – an environment of innovation for Minnesota’s medical technology companies, large and small, to continue creating high-paying, private-sector jobs that develop critical life- and cost-saving technology. Repealing Obamacare and the harmful medical device tax would be a step in leveling the playing field and moving in the right direction.
Pete Hegseth is a decorated combat veteran and executive director of Vets for Freedom. He is a candidate for the Republican nomination to run against Amy Klobuchar in November.