Written by Dentistry Today Monday, 14 March 2011 13:35
Plymouth Meeting, PA – March 7, 2011 – One of the funding mechanisms buried deep within the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Bill of 2010” is a 2.3% excise tax on medical devices.
Ostensibly, this tax was added to the bill to help fund expanded Medicaid coverage, including universal dental coverage, for a projected 18 million individuals (including six million children) nationwide. That universal dental coverage did not make it into the final version of the bill, however the tax did.
Congressman Jim Gerlach (R‐PA) attended a meeting in early February with a number of his constituents that will be directly impacted by this tax – employees of Premier® Dental and Medical Products ‐‐ to learn about the impact the tax could have on Premier’s and other manufacturers’ ability to maintain staffing levels and remain competitive in an increasingly challenging global marketplace.
Premier staffers had sent personal correspondence to Gerlach explaining the potential damage this legislation could do to their company and the dental products industry as a whole. Congressman Gerlach, a Chester County Republican, earned a seat on the House Ways and Means Committee in December and was appointed to the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee in January.
During the informal give and take sessions, Gerlach told Premier staffers, “We think the medical device tax is particularly burdensome and onerous tax in the legislation last year and we will try to repeal it.” Gerlach added, “I am extremely concerned that imposing an immense new tax on both medical and dental device manufacturers will jeopardize more than 20,000 jobs in Pennsylvania’s thriving biotechnology and life‐sciences sectors."
Gerlach told Premier staffers that there will be a number of hearings held on this issue and that Ways and Means subcommittees will work to develop and introduce smaller, more targeted bills to replace components within the massive bill from last year.
“With a country that is 14 trillion dollars in debt, right now, we cannot afford to continue building on that debt – we need market‐based approaches to deal with these issues,” said Gerlach.
“We’re heartened to see that Congressmen Gerlach has recognized the negative impact this excise tax will have upon the entire industry, “ said Julie Charlestein, President of Premier® Dental Products.
“This tax puts a massive new burden upon the 2,000 companies in the U.S. that manufacture and supply products and services to oral health professionals and is wildly disproportionate compared to the dental services legislated in the bill.”
Gerlach said, "This new tax will dampen investment and innovation of products that improve patient care. That’s why I am committed to working with my House colleagues to repeal this tax to ensure that Pennsylvania companies, including Premier Dental, remain competitive in global markets.”