Walorski Pushes for New Repeal of Medical Device Tax; Messer’s Reverse Transfer Concept Amended Into Reauthorization Bill

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) has brought forth legislation to suspend the medical device tax for five years. She joined Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) in co-authoring the bill, H.R. 4617, which would delay the implementation of the 2.3% tax that was originally created through the Affordable Care Act. In 2017, Congress delayed the tax for two years, but without intervention it is set to take effect January 1, 2018.

“The job-killing medical device tax would have a devastating impact on Hoosier workers and patients across the country who depend on life-saving medical innovation,” Walorski said. “I am committed to permanently ending this burdensome tax. As we continue working toward repeal, we must protect workers and patients by preventing it from taking effect.”

Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02)

Walorski’s bill was part of a group of legislation introduced by members of the House Ways and Means Committee aimed at stopping Obamacare taxes set to take effect in 2018. The other four measures are:

• H.R. 4618, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), provides relief for two years from the tax on over-the-counter medications, expanding access and reducing health care costs by once again allowing for reimbursement under consumer-directed accounts;
• H.R. 4620, introduced by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), provides relief in 2018 from the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) that drives up health care costs;
• H.R. 4619, introduced by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), provides needed relief from HIT for two years for health care plans regulated by Puerto Rico; and
• H.R. 4616, introduced by Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA), delivers three years of retroactive relief and one year of prospective relief from the harmful employer mandate paired with a one-year delay of the Cadillac tax.

Earlier this year, Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06) introduced legislation that encourages a more seamless transition for community college transfer students earning degrees. Messer’s proposal would make it easier for students to earn a degree through a “reverse transfer,” where students who transferred from a community college to a four-year-institution but haven’t completed a bachelor’s degree can apply those additional credits back toward an associate’s degree.

Originally titled the Reverse Transfer Efficiency Act of 2017, it was recently added as an amendment to the Higher Education Re-authorization by the House Committee on Education and Workforce. The provision would streamline credit sharing between community colleges and four-year institutions so transfer students can be notified when they become eligible to receive an associate’s degree through a reverse transfer.

“An associate’s degree can make a huge difference for working Hoosiers,” Messer said. “By making it easier for transfer students to combine credits and get a degree they’ve earned, Hoosiers will have more opportunities to get good-paying jobs and succeed in today’s workforce.” This legislation was supported not only by the Indiana Chamber, but also by Ivy Tech Community College and the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Job ‘Casualties’ Mount Due to Device Tax

16446238In our most recent Indiana Chamber Policy Call with Congressman Todd Rokita, the subject of the medical device tax came up. No surprise. It’s been a topic in countless conversations ever since the terrible idea was first broached in 2010.

Rokita expressed confidence that repeal will make its way to the President’s desk in 2015. What happens then, of course, can’t be predicted.

A recent Site Selection article notes that concerns have only multiplied. It contains quotes and analysis from Cook Group chairman and long-time Indiana Chamber board member Steve Ferguson, who says five plants (each would have employed up to 300 people) have been “put on hold” because of the tax.

Check out the full article.

Young: Americans Need to Choose Which Vision They Support

If you’re an Indiana Chamber member, one of the benefits that you should not overlook are the Policy Issue Conference Calls. John Gregg and Mike Pence are coming (more on that below), and here are just a few of the comments from Indiana 9th District Congressman Todd Young during today’s discussion.

  • On the "tense" atmosphere in Washington and the prospects for budget reform: "No one anticipates great breakthroughs or grand bargains in the next several months. You want to assure you have maximum leverage when you sit down at the bargaining table and this election is about leverage."
  • While he is frustrated, like others, by politics taking precedence over policy, Young admits that the parties have "different, irreconcilable visions and we need the American people to weigh in."
  • In discussing the prospects for broad tax reform, he says this Congress simply doesn’t have the "presidential leadership." He notes the 1986 tax reforms involved a Democrat-led House and Republican Senate, with the leadership of President Reagan allowing those groups to "come together and reconcile their differences."
  • About his co-sponsorship of the REINS Act, which would require up-or-down votes by Congress on any federal regulation with a projected $100 million or higher economic impact. "This would allow you to hold us accountable, and I want to be held accountable. In the end, you can then blame us if these rules and regulations are made the law of the land."
  • On his role on the Armed Services Committee, noting that administrations of both parties have not done a good job at developing a strong military strategy: "In the end, strategy ought to drive military spending. I wanted to be part of that larger conversation."

Young adds that a House vote is expected next week on the repeal of the medical device tax that could be so devastating to the Indiana economy. While House passage is possible, the Senate is not expected to act on the legislation. Also, look for the opportunity for Chamber members to weigh in on tax reform priorities with Rep. Young.

This writer (and many others) thinks we’re looking at a rising star in Congress. Thank you, Rep. Young, for your time today and we look forward to working with you at even greater levels in the future.

As far as future policy calls, mark September 21 and September 28 for one-hour discussions with Indiana gubernatorial candidates John Gregg and Mike Pence. Listen to the conversations and feel free to weigh in with your questions and comments. Much more to come as we approach those September sessions.

Ferguson Discusses Medical Device Tax Troubles

Yes, our current health care system is broken. No, a multi-billion dollar annual tax on medical device companies should not be part of any so-called solution. As our country seeks to emerge from the recession, the last thing we should be doing is discouraging entrepreneurs and businesses that are providing all-important technologies and jobs.  Continued innovation, not intervention, is what is needed.

Steve Ferguson, a longtime Indiana business and community leader, describes why the tax is so bad for our state. Ferguson, the 2010 Indiana Chamber board chairman and chairman of Cook Group in Bloomington, talked with Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business.