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ACA Funding Threatened by House Committee Vote

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, June 4, 2012

He also challenged the contention by supporters that the excise tax would open the industry to foreign competition and encourage medical device manufacturers to shift jobs overseas. "That is not true. Imports will be taxed so foreign companies will have no advantage. It will make no sense for American companies to move abroad."

Levin quoted from a May 2009 letter in which the medical device industry pledged to "do our part to make healthcare reform a reality." He noted that the letter was signed by representatives of many of the associations now fighting the excise tax.

While Levin contended that the industry originally supported the tax because of the potential expanded market, Rep. Paulsen responded that many of the 30 million newly insured would be young workers who probably wouldn't need to use medical devices. He noted that several companies have already announced potential layoffs of thousands of workers in anticipation of the excise tax.

Rep. Paulsen, who also serves as co-chair of the congressional medical technology caucus, made the case that because the tax is on sales and not profits, start-ups in research and development would be hard hit.

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