Alexander Says Repealing Obamacare Medical Device Tax Would Create Memphis Jobs

Posted on March 20, 2014

Meets with Memphis-area makers of medical devices, one of Tennessee’s top exports, to hear impact of tax on jobs, industry

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“This onerous $30 billion tax on revenue has cost 33,000 jobs, increased the cost of life-saving medical devices and discouraged innovation for new devices."

– Lamar Alexander 

BARTLETT, March 20 – At a roundtable today in Bartlett with a panel of leaders in the Memphis-area medical device industry, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) renewed his call for the repeal of the health care law’s 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers.

"Memphis has become one of the nation's most important centers for medical devices, an industry that has become one of Tennessee's top exports. This onerous $30 billion tax on revenue has cost 33,000 jobs, increased the cost of life-saving medical devices and discouraged innovation for new devices."

Alexander said that legislation he cosponsors to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers, the “Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act,” had the support of 79 senators during last year’s budget discussions.

A recent survey from a medical device trade association found that the tax has so far caused a loss of 33,000 jobs across the country in the medical device industry, and other reports indicate companies are reducing research and development as a result.

Alexander noted that last year, Smith & Nephew, a medical device manufacturer with a large presence in Tennessee, announced it would be laying off nearly 100 employees in Tennessee and Massachusetts as a direct result of the new tax on medical devices.

Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development has identified medical device manufactures as among the state’s most important exports. U.S. Census data shows that the value of those exports was nearly $2.2 billion in 2013, which ranks at the top of all state exports by dollar value.

Alexander, the top Republican on the Senate health committee, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration, also asked the panel how improving the FDA’s medical device approval process, and improving training and management at the agency, could increase innovation and get new medical devices to patients faster. 

Today’s panel of Memphis-area medical device leaders included Dr. William Mihalko, a biomedical engineer with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center; Steve Bares with Memphis Bioworks; Gary Stevenson with MB Ventures; Ryan Ramkhelawan, CEO of Restore Medical; Robert J. Bean, president and CEO of Transnetyx; Jeanne Forneris, vice president and general counsel for Bioventis; Ed Chin, senior director of regulatory affairs for Medtronic and Robert J. Ogg, Ph.D., an associated member of the St. Jude faculty.

 

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