Health care costs will rise unless Congress blocks harmful tax
By Ross Marchand
The American people – and just about all our elected officials – frequently and justifiably complain about the high cost of health care. But unless Congress acts, a tax increase on medical devices will take effect Jan. 1 and needlessly raise those costs even higher.
The 2.3 percent tax on medical devices was signed into law by President Obama and took effect in 2013. Fortunately, Congress passed legislation in 2015 and again in 2017 to temporarily suspend the tax. However, without further congressional action the tax will kick back in at the beginning of 2020 . . .
Fortunately, patients may get a reprieve. Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. (a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination) recently introduced a bipartisan bill permanently repealing the tax on medical devices.
Repealing the tax would make health care and health insurance more affordable for all Americans. The repeal deserves support from both Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
One reason you haven’t heard more objections to this tax is that most Americans don’t even know it exists.
Pacific Research Institute scholar Wayne Winegarden notes that the tax has been “priced into the costs of the product” and “has been applied inconsistently across products due to exemptions and short-term suspensions, which create difficulties for firms to plan and manage the tax; and, subjects some medical devices to double taxation.”