WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (Pa.) and U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (Pa.-15) at a press conference today at Allentown’s B. Braun Medical Inc. discussed the impact of a new medical device tax on Lehigh Valley job creators. Sen. Toomey and Rep. Dent called for the repeal of the tax, which is included in President Obama’s 2010 healthcare law.

“This tax will cost Pennsylvania’s economy $100 million a year, causing job losses and impacting companies’ ability to expand and hire. The threat of this tax is discouraging companies both in Pennsylvania and across the United States from growing and planning for their futures, and that uncertainty has to end,” Sen. Pat Toomey said. “I met with leaders in the medical device community to learn about the challenges they face, and I’m pleased to be a co-sponsor of legislation in the Senate that would repeal this job-killing tax. This tax is yet another example of how President Obama’s health care bill will hurt American jobs and undermine our economy.”

“As portions of the 2010 health care law slowly take effect, Americans are beginning to understand and feel the negative impact of its many ill-advised provisions, like the medical device tax. I am most concerned by the devastating impact this tax will have on consumers and employers in the 15th District,” Rep. Dent added. “It will stifle innovation by diverting investments from research and development, drive up the costs consumers pay for essential devices ranging from bedpans to prosthetics, and threaten jobs in a promising local industry that provides high-quality jobs to thousands of Lehigh Valley residents.”

Under the healthcare bill, medical device companies will face a 2.3 percent excise tax in 2013. This tax even applies to researchers developing new technologies that have yet to recover their research costs, penalizing companies pioneering new lifesaving technologies. Not only will the new tax cost Pennsylvania jobs, it will discourage, and perhaps prevent, the development of these critical discoveries.

Pennsylvania is a leader in medical research, with 576 medical device companies employing 22,200 people. Another 80,000 Pennsylvanians work for suppliers and companies that support the medical device industry. The Lehigh Valley region is home to a vibrant biomedical industry that includes renowned research universities, premier national health care providers, and innovative biotech firms.

Local biomedical businesses participated in today’s event and shared their concerns about the medical device tax with Sen. Toomey and Rep. Dent. Chris Field of Boas Surgical, Inc., an Allentown small business that manufactures custom orthotics and prosthetics, explained the tax may ultimately force the employer out of business.

“The medical device tax would simply destroy what is left of our company,” explained Field. “Without the Senator and Congressman's help, a small company such as Boas Surgical would be steamrolled by the health care law. After giving it our all, we would simply have to turn out the lights, lock the doors and send 45 employees to the unemployment lines. And our patients, including many of our soldiers returning from combat, would no longer be able to receive medical devices such as their prosthesis from a company which has faithfully served the Lehigh Valley for over 90 years.”

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