Med device groups: Obamacare tax puts jobs on the line

Two groups took aim at the 2.3 percent medical device excise tax that went into effect in January 2013 as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act  in new reports painting the tax as an impediment to jobs, according to The Hill.

The Medical Device Manufacturers Association, in a survey of 100 executives, found that three-quarters of companies reduced or stopped hiring to pay the new tax.

Meanwhile, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), in what it referred to as a "call to action" for Congress, warned that as many as 39,000 jobs are on the line due to the tax, according to the article.

That group's survey of 55 companies found that 46 percent of respondents may decrease hiring if the tax is not repealed.

However, the nonpartisan research group Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported last November that the economic fallout of the tax should be should be "relatively small." It said probably "no more than 1,200 employees" of medical device manufacturers should lose their jobs.

David Nexon, AdvaMed senior executive vice president, said in the article that "CRS could never have come to the conclusion they did if they had actually talked to anyone in the medical industry."

The tax has been heavily criticized by medical device industry organizations, and leaders in both the House and Senate have pledged to repeal it. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has called it "one of the stupidest aspects" of reform.

And Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) this month reintroduced the Protect Medical Innovation Act, a bill aimed at repealing the tax. It's legislation he's presented before. In the last Congress, his legislation on the device tax passed the House twice, but was never voted on in the Senate.

Though the GOP-controlled remains focused on repeal, President Barack Obama has threatened to veto any such bill.

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