Last week, while testifying before the Senate Budget Committee, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew defended the medical device tax hidden in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, calling it “a critical component of the health care law that can’t easily be replaced.”
Earth to Lew. A punitive tax intended to pay for the massive bill of the health care law at the expense of innovation should have never been included in the first place.
Imposed on medical device manufacturers whether or not they make a profit, this new 2.3 percent tax on the sale of virtually all medical devices will lead to increased health care costs, undercutting one of the primary goals of health care reform.
Not only is it a punitive tax that singles out a particular industry, it simply isn’t a health care issue. The tax was imposed solely to generate revenue to help pay for the massive health care overhaul.
Clearly no one thought too far ahead on this one.
Additionally, a study from AdvaMed estimates that 43,000 jobs could be lost because of the medical device tax. That’s because it raises taxes on the medical device industry by almost 30%.
The impact is already being felt through layoffs at device manufacturers around the country. In the long term, cuts in research and development will limit access to life-improving and life-saving innovations.
Combined with the high corporate tax rate already imposed on the research and development and manufacturing industries, the medical device tax is a huge disincentive for companies to stay and grow in the United States.
As the AdvaMed President and CEO said in a letter to Secretary Lew,
“That is directly contrary to the Administration and our industry’s shared goal of keeping and growing good jobs in the U.S.”
More taxes, fewer jobs, less innovation, and higher costs; that doesn’t make sense to us at all.
Fortunately, there is a growing group of bipartisan legislators who agree. Make sure your member of Congress is one of them by sending a letter urging them to support repeal today.
We asked and you answered.
We recently opened a survey to our grassroots Friends to get your input on how we're doing and what we can do to serve your interestes better. Thanks to everyone who already participated. This survey is a great chance to make your voice heard, and will play a big role during the key debates over the national debt, balancing the budget, and taxes that will impact our country for years to come.
If you haven't participated, please click here to let your voice be heard. We would love to have your input before the survey closes.
Here are a few things we've learned so far:
- 96% believe that the Free Enterprise system has the best solutions to lead the economic recovery
- 85% oppose Obamacare
- 71% belive spending and economic uncertainty are the biggest challenges to overcome
- 92% of you said that Washington has a spending problem.
Cut the Deficit with Government-Run Health Insurance?
We wanted to give you a heads up that the so-called “public option” – a longstanding liberal health reform priority—has resurfaced under the auspices of reducing the debt.
On Tuesday, a group of House Democrats introduced a bill resurrecting the repeatedly failed attempts to enact the public health insurance option -- the same wolf that we fought during the health care debate, merely cloaked in a different sheep’s clothing.
What was once a necessity to provide a low-cost high quality insurance plan for Americans – its alleged goal when introduced in 2009 – is now suddenly a critical tool to resolve the current political crisis du-jour. Or is it possible that the public option is something its far-left supporters will sell in any way possible?
The sponsors of the Public Option Deficit Reduction Act claim that providing consumers with the choice of a publicly-run health insurance would cut the deficit by $104 billion over 10 years.
Even if you could believe this deficit-cutting idea to be true, it would only be a drop in the bucket– less than one percent of our annual $1.5 trillion deficit.
If you recall, we fought hard during the 2010 health care debate to limit the role of government and preserve your freedom to choose what was best for your family or business. When the health reform law passed, we successfully defeated any and all efforts to include a public option.
As we and others argued at the time, a public option would shift costs back to private insurance premium payers and potentially run private insurance companies out of business and nationalize health care.
It was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now.
Stay tuned for more on this issue. And in the meantime, check out the Chamber’s 2013 Growth and Jobs Agenda for real ways to put a dent in our federal deficit and jumpstart our economy.
Thank you for your support in 2012 on a number of key economic issues and for helping making 2012 a year to remember as we celebrated our 100 year anniversary.
As we look ahead to 2013, we looking forward to partnering with you on key legislative priorities that will strengthen our economy, create jobs, and ensure growth for generations to come.
What are your top issues in the coming year? Leave a comment and let us know which of these are a priority for you and why.
- Tax and Spending Reform
- Health Care
The 113th Congress will not be without challenges, but with you as an active member of our grassroots team we can be sure that American enterprise has a voice in advocating for a bright economic future.
Wishing you a very happy New Year.
A new 2.3% tax on medical devices is set to hit one of America’s most innovative industries in January. According to an Ernst & Young study, companies that make devices like MRIs, pacemakers, joint replacements, etc. will fork over $2.5 billion in new taxes in 2013. This will reduce research and development of new products and stop them from hiring more workers. This tax should be repealed.
This infographic from AdvaMed illustrates how this tax harm American medical technology companies and their workers.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 6079, The Repeal of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to repeal the massive 2010 health care overhaul most commonly known as Obamacare.
Because this will be the first health care vote since the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the law, and is only the second time that the House will have voted on full repeal, today’s vote is an important one.
The Supreme Court made it clear. Obamacare is a massive tax increase on top of countless mandates and regulations that will harm our economy’s ability to recover by raising health care costs, undermining much needed job creation, and jeopardizing Americans’ current employer-provided health care plans.
Americans need a plan that will achieve what was once the primary objective of health care reform: to bend the cost curve down.
This law is fundamentally flawed and unworkable. What we need is a fresh start.
That starts with repeal of Obamacare.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States issued their much-anticipated ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, upholding the law as Constitutional.
While we respect the Court’s ruling, it doesn’t change the clear reality that this health care law is fundamentally flawed and immensely unpopular with the American people.
Without much-needed reforms, this law is certain to cost many Americans their employer-based health insurance, undermine job creation, and raise health care costs for us all.
Following yesterday’s outcome, one thing is true. Our country can’t afford the failed policies from the last few years, allowing Congress to ram through legislation that stifles growth with taxes and mandates instead of spurring it with American enterprise.
After leading the fight against Obamacare two years ago, we have 131 days until the election to finish what we started, and send a clear message to Washington.
Now more than ever, we need your help. The U.S. Chamber is engaged in our most aggressive efforts in our 100 year history to hold candidates accountable for their position on the issues most consequential to our economy. With your continued support, candidates can’t hide from their vote in favor of Obamacare.
We need policymakers to work with job creators, instead of against them, to develop genuine, common sense reforms that will control costs, improve access, ensure quality, and promote wellness.
These are the reforms we need. And they are absolutely achievable. And with the Court’s decision, the need for action has never been greater.
We hope you’ll be a part of this effort to bring real, true, and meaningful reform that improves the quality and affordability of health care that Americans receive and stand with us in the coming days. It’s time to remind Washington that at the end of the day – voters have the final say.
Earlier this week, the Washington Times editorial page commented on the White House’s reactions to the Supreme Court hearing on the Constitutionality of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Though deficits projects associated with the "Affordable Care Act" continue to rise, and devastating effects of the law are increasingly uncovered, the Washington Times highlighted the President saying that:
“I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,” he said.
Moreover, Mr. Obama argued that nullifying Obamacare would amount to “judicial activism,” whereby “unelected” judges trump the will of legislative representatives…
The Washington Times continued to explain:
Contrary to Mr. Obama’s spin, the Affordable Care Act was jammed through Congress. It passed the House by a narrow vote of 219-212, even though the Democrats had an overwhelming majority of 75 seats. In the Senate, it barely crossed the 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster and passed without a single Republican vote. The law was deeply unpopular with the electorate. Obama Democrats desperately rushed it through Congress, abusing parliamentary procedures and bribing key members of the Senate. It is today even less popular with voters. No one - including Mr. Obama - bothered to read the 2,700-page monstrosity before putting it into law.
With its laundry list of shortcomings and broken promises, it’s not hard to believe why the Supreme Court is taking careful consideration of the bill’s legitimacy.
It would not be “unprecedented” or “extraordinary” if the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare. For more than 200 years, the high court has struck down countless laws passed by Congress or state legislatures, many of them with much stronger majorities than the Affordable Care Act.
Read the full editorial here and vote below.
In the wake of evidence provided at the Supreme Court hearings against the 2010 health care overhaul, do you believe think we should keep the bill as is or start from scratch?
“Now the American public is waking up to what is, in fact, in the legislation, polls show they don’t like it, and we have a situation that will be difficult to deal with over the next decade.”
Watch as Randy Johnson, the Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits reflects on the passage, implications and shortcomings of the 2010 healthcare law on its the second-year anniversary.
Leave a comment to share how you’ve seen America’s healthcare system changed since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
This week marks the 2nd anniversary of the passage of Obamacare, and more than half of all Americans oppose it.
Obamacare serves as a stark reminder that elections have very serious consequences. We need to send more people to Washington that won’t only oppose job-killing and tax-raising pieces of legislation like Obamacare, but who are also pro-business, pro-jobs, and support policies that will unleash the productive power of the free enterprise system to get our economy roaring again.
As we’ve mentioned, the U.S. Chamber is engaged in an historic and unprecedented voter education campaign in 2012. Because elections have consequences, voters need to know who supports common-sense policies that will create jobs and who supports policies that will harm our economy.
Today, we’re profiling three more voter education ads that highlight the records of three members of Congress:
Wisconsin: Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is one of those Washington politicians who’s making it harder for small businesses. She fought hard for the health care overhaul, which will heap crushing costs onto businesses, strangling them with government red tape, and making it harder for them to grown and put more Americans to work.
Higher taxes. More regulations. New burdens on businesses. That’s Tammy Baldwin’s record. And we want to make sure Wisconsinites know the truth before they vote:
Michigan: Congressman Fred Upton
As chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House, Congressman Fred Upton has stood strong against new taxes that would have sent energy costs through the roof. Upton opposed Obamacare and its job-killing mandates and taxes, and he’s heading the fight to repeal it.
Michigan needs more jobs, and Michigan voters should know that they have a pro-jobs friend in Representative in Fred Upton:
Pennsylvania: Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick
Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is fighting to protect Pennsylvanians from the big government onslaught coming from Washington. He opposed Obamacare, and is working with Fred Upton and others to see that it is repealed. Fitzpatrick knows that it’s not Washington or Congress that will jumpstart our economy — it’s small businesses and American free enterprise that will get America back on track and put Americans back to work.
Pennsylvanians need to know that Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is on their side, working to protect Pennsylvania jobs and get our economy growing again.
Click here to see all of the ads that are part of our landmark 2012 voter education campaign. As it turns 2 years old, Americans need to know who is fighting for them and fighting to end Obamacare.
Since the 2010 passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, has your family and business been affected by its implications? Vote below, and leave a comment to tell us how.
Thanks for your thoughts and feedback! Your views and opinions help make our grassroots efforts stronger; giving us the guidance to most effectively fight for what you think is most important.
Two years have passed since Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law, and the full implications of its 159 new agencies, panels, commissions, regulatory bodies, and mandates remain murky.
Not so unclear, however, are 6 big pledges made by the Administration and supporters of the 2010 healthcare overhaul that have since become broken promises to the American people.
Read the trail of broken promises below, and let us know, will you feel the impact of the shortcomings of Obamacare?
Take action now:
- Contact Congress and urge their Support for the Repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board
- Are you a small business? Submit a testimonial on how the PPACC's Employer Mandate will impact you.
As we posted about a few weeks ago, the more we learn about Obamacare, the more we learn just how bad it is for America’s economic recovery.
In that post, we discussed how the health care law makes it more expensive to hire new workers. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study found that that health care premiums in 2011 surged by 9 percent, with the average price for employer-provided family coverage topping $15,000 for the first time ever.
Is it any surprise that Americans increasingly don’t like this law?
Politico reports on a new Kaiser survey:
Just 34 percent of those surveyed said they have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, the lowest ranking in Kaiser Family Foundation’s monthly Health Tracking Poll since the law passed in March 2010. By contrast, 51 percent said they have an unfavorable view.
This isn’t a partisan issue. In fact, the new survey finds that Democrats are “souring” on the law, with favorability among Democrats dropping from 65 percent to 52 percent over the past month.
Over the next year, we’ll be ramping up our efforts to educate voters on where their politicians stand on this law. By making a donation today, you can help us to further unveil the truth of this burdensome law and those who supported it.
Some politicians told us that Obamacare would cut our health care costs and boost American job growth.
Nancy Pelosi told us that she’d “have to pass the bill so you that you can find out what’s in it.”
Well, over our objections and warnings, Congress passed the bill. And what we’re finding out isn’t so good for our health care system or job creation.
Take, for instance, a new analysis by the Heritage Foundation that finds the health care bill will actually cost American jobs.
Take a look at these graphs from this analysis, which paint a troubling picture about the effects of the health care bill -- and why the dangerous employer mandate needs to be repealed:
We think Congress should take the necessary first step in reversing some of the the most harmful aspects of the healthcare overhaul. Help us urge Congress to do so by writing a letter to your members now.
Do you count on your employer for health care coverage? You’re not alone; roughly 45% of all Americans rely on their employer for insurance. However, instead of increasing coverage as proponents of the Affordable Care Act promised, last year’s health care bill is causing employers to drop employees from their plans due to provisions such as the employer mandate, which will take effect in 2014.
The Employer Mandate will force businesses with 50 or more full time "equivalent" employees to provide employer-sponsored health insurance or pay steep fines (about $2,000 per employee). The health insurance must be government-approved, covering a broad range of benefits chosen by Washington bureaucrats but paid for by employers. In addition, some businesses that already offer generous health benefits will be fined $3,000 for each employee who instead opts into the new health insurance exchanges.
Just take a look at the stats produced by a recent McKinsey study reported on by Market Watch:
• Out of the employees being forced to switch to subsidized-exchange programs, at least 30% of companies say they will “definitely or probably” stop offering employer-sponsored coverage.
• At least 30% of employers would gain economically from dropping coverage, even if they completely compensated employees for the change through other benefit offerings or higher salaries
• Those employees who are more keenly aware of the health-reform measure probably are more likely to consider an alternative to employer-sponsored plans, with 50% to 60% in this group expected to make a change.
• Contrary to what employers assume, more than 85% of employees would remain at their jobs even if their employers stopped offering [employer-sponsored insurance].
The employer-mandate is just one more regulatory burden being forced on employers as they look to resume growth and hiring. Forced coverage and penaltiesare the last thing they can afford.
So, what do you think, does this really requirement help to cover more American’s with quality care or will it just leave more out in the cold without a job?
Congress has introduced measures to repeal the employer mandate through the American Job Protection Act in both the House and Senate. Write your members of Congress now asking them to support these bills, S. 20 and H.R. 1744.
As over 500 representatives of small business gathered together last week in D.C. for America’s Small Business Summit, their presence quickly confirmed what we have always believed; there certainly is no shortage of challenges facing our country’s small business owners. However, some issues pose greater threats than others to these job creators.
One of the highlights of the last week’s three-day summit was a panel where small business owners heard directly from U.S. Chamber executives on three such key issues impacting the future of their businesses, and the communities in which they operate: gas prices, taxes and lawsuit abuse.
The attendees heard firsthand what is going on now, and what to expect next. Here is where we stand on these issues — and how you can get involved to make a difference:
Gas Prices — The U.S. Chamber is fighting hard to ensure passage of three complimentary energy bills that would expand domestic energy production to create American jobs, ensure stable energy supply, and bring skyrocketing energy prices under control. These bills have passed the House, but face a tough audience in the Senate. America’s small businesses can’t afford further delay while jobs are being lost, and our ability to access affordable, reliable energy is blocked.
Taxes — The U.S. Chamber is at the forefront of the debate for common sense budget solutions that deal with our Nation’s long-term debt crisis, while empowering our job creators to grow and hire new workers. Unfortunately, the President’s most recent budget — and his deficit reduction proposal — would rely heavily on tax increases on small business owners.
We oppose the President’s approach, and will support only serious proposals that will reduce our deficit without raising taxes on small businesses.
Lawsuit Reform — Lawsuit abuse is a drain on American employers, large and small. That’s why the U.S. Chamber is fighting for realistic lawsuit reforms that balance the legal system to ensure a fair playing field for American small businesses— instead of a stacked deck in favor of opportunistic trial lawyers.
Right now, we are focused on passing H.R. 5 — the “HEALTH” Act — that would enact vital medical liability reforms that protect our health care providers from abusive lawsuits, and take a bite out of skyrocketing health care costs. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, these reforms could also save American taxpayers more than $40 billion over the next decade. Please click here to email Congress to urge them to pass H.R. 5.
Of Course, these are only three of the wide array of issues we are working on each and every day.
We urge you to visit our Friends of the U.S. Chamber Action Page to learn more about the issues important to you — and how you can take action today.
The headline is a quote from small business owner Phil Kennedy, who runs his family’s business, Comanche Lumber Company, in Lawton, Oklahoma. Kennedy participated with Bill Miller, U.S. Chamber senior vice president of Political Affairs and Federation Relations, and Marty Regalia, senior vice president of Economic Policy and chief economist, on a conference call today to release the results of the Chamber’s inaugural Small Business Outlook Survey—a nationwide survey of 900 small business owners.
According to the survey, 55% of respondents cited economic uncertainty as their greatest hiring obstacle, and 35% said Washington uncertainty impacted growth. Thirty-five percent cited too little revenue as their greatest obstacle. Seventy percent of respondents said they do not plan to hire new employees next year, and 9% will continue layoffs. Here are a few other notable results:
- Two of the top issues of concern are America’s debt and the health care law. Eighty percent of respondents said America’s debt and deficit have a negative impact on their business, and 72% said the health care law has made hiring more difficult.
- Small businesses want Washington to get out of the way. In a commanding majority, 79% of respondents said they want more certainty, and only 14% said they want more government assistance.
- By a 73% to 17% margin, respondents said that the climate of the last two years has hindered their growth. Respondents were split in how they view the next two years, with 38% believing the climate will improve, 37% believing that it will worsen, and the remainder uncertain
Here’s more of what Kennedy, the small business owner, had to say:
The last 3 years have been some of the most challenging times I’ve faced in business. All of the findings in this survey mirror our own experiences, from hiring freezes because of the implementation of the new health care law and employer mandates, to uncertainty over whether it’s in our best interest to invest and hire.
My biggest concern is the lack of understanding Washington has of small business. The U.S. Chamber is leading the fight to remove the obstacles, and I appreciate their effort to listen to small businesses and carry the message to the Hill.
Ever wonder what other small businesses are saying about the economy, legislative climate, and their own company’s future? We do too – and so we asked.
This afternoon, we will be rolling out our inaugural Small Business Outlook Survey results, with the key findings from our nationwide survey of small business owners.
The call will be held with U.S. Chamber members; however, we are opening it to the public by streaming the call live on Facebook today at 3:00 pm ET. When you ‘like’ the U.S. Chamber’s Facebook page, you’ll gain access to the call and hear what small businesses are saying and what we’re doing to be their voice in Washington.
These results will serve as the foundation for the Chamber's grassroots efforts this summer, kicking off with America's Small Business Summit 2011, being held May 23-25.
I ecourage you to join the conversation submitting your questions using the hash tag #WhatBizSays on Twitter. Policy experts will be standing by to respond.
Typically reserved for U.S. Chamber members, we are opening today’s call to all interested parties because the voice of business needs to be heard far and wide. Log-on to Facebook at 3:00 p.m. ET to hear what they’re saying.
Three U.S. Chamber executives are participating in a Bloggers Briefing today at 12 P.M. EST, as we host the event at our Washington headquarters. The briefing will highlight what major legislative dilemmas we are facing in terms of health care, energy, and labor policies. U.S. Chamber’s executive VP for Government affairs, Bruce Josten, will be joined by colleagues Bill Kovacs and Randy Johnson to weigh in on the decisions that unaccountable federal agencies are making what the Chamber is doing to restore balance to the regulatory process
I will be checking in to report post-briefing, but in the meantime follow along on Twitter and participate by sending questions and comments and including #TBB in your tweets.
Far from reining in costs, last year’s health care law is creating a confusing and unpredictable labyrinth of regulations and discouraging small businesses from creating new jobs.
As one small business owner said in testimony before Congress:
“I do not want to lose anyone on my payroll, but if it comes down to laying off a few employees or being saddled with these fines, I won’t have a choice.”
– Phil Kennedy, Owner and President of Comanche Lumber Company, Oklahoma
Instead of savings, small businesses have been handed a web of confusing mandates and regulations, not to mention the fees for failure to comply.
You can help restore balance to the regulatory system. Read this week’s Case for Regulatory Reform and share your story now.
It’s the real deal this time…so they say. Last week Majority Senate Leader Harry Reid claimed for three consecutive days that the 1099 Small Paperwork Mandate would come to the floor for its final judgment day. The date has now been set to tomorrow, Tuesday, April 5th, for a final push to repeal the provision added into the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" as an unrelated pay-for. If the Senate fails to pass H.R. 4, over 40 million entities, including government entities, nonprofits, and small and large businesses would be forced to submit extensive paperwork to the IRS on every transaction over $600. This is just another way the health care overhaul is making business harder for job-creators. Take action now before it’s too late – urge your Senator to repeal the 1099 provision.