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President Barack Obama did an interview with Minneapolis-based television station WCCO on Thursday night. Anchor Frank Vascellaro asked about the job-killing Obamacare medical device tax, and the recent letter signed by 18 Democrat senators and senators-elect requesting a delay in the implementation of the tax (after they voted for it in the first place).
The key exchange is as follows:
Frank Vascellaro, WCCO TV: “Senators Klobuchar and Franken are trying to delay and actually repeal part of the medical devices tax, which has a huge impact on Minnesota companies. Would you be willing to see that delayed?”
President Obama: “Uh, no. And here’s why. The health care bill is going to provide those health care companies, 30 million new customers. It’s going to be great for business and they’re doing really well right now and they’re going to get 30 million more customers as a consequence, so this additional tax essentially comes back to them as new customers. I think it’s very important for us to maintain the principal that A.) nobody should go bankrupt when they get sick in this country and B.) the providers of medical services should recognize they’re going to get a benefit from all of these uninsured folks suddenly having insurance and that means they should be willing to do a little bit in order to make that happen. It’s not just medical device folks, hospitals are doing a little bit more because they know now they’re not going to have uncompensated care in emergency rooms, everybody’s going to have some kind of insurance. Doctors, same kind of thing. So this is not unique to the medical device industry. The idea is that when you have 30 million more people coming in, you’re going to make money, you can do a little more to help facilitate and make sure people are getting the health care they need.”
As if this rationale wasn’t bad enough on its own, it doesn’t even hold water. As Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch has pointed out, “Justification for the tax falls short.”:
"Matthew Dolan, a senior research analyst at Roth Capital Partners, said he discounts the argument made by supporters of the medical device tax that it is a payback for the windfall the companies would reap when 30 million new customers gain access to health care plans through the Affordable Care Act.
Dolan said similar claims were made when Massachusetts adopted its own universal health care plan, but in fact sales of medical devices in the Bay State grew more slowly than rest of the country.”