WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) today joined with three other Members of Congress to try and amend the Health Care legislation being considered this weekend, to eliminate a medical device tax that will harm American innovation and lose jobs for Pennsylvanians. Congressman Dent sponsored this amendment along with Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), and Erik Paulsen (R-MN).

The reconciliation bill being considered this weekend would impose an excise tax of 2.3 percent on the sale of most medical devices, costing an average $2 billion a year. The Dent/Gerlach/Lance/Paulsen amendment would have stricken section 1405, the Excise Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers. The amendment offsets the revenue reduction with unobligated funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the so-called “stimulus” bill.

Congressman Dent testified before the House Rules Committee Saturday in an effort to get the amendment on the floor for a full vote.

“This bill will have a detrimental impact on the people of the 15th District of Pennsylvania,” Congressman Dent said. “Pennsylvania and neighboring New Jersey are home to many employers who lead the world in medical innovation by designing and manufacturing lifesaving equipment. They also provide good jobs for the families in my district.”

Congressman Dent singled out companies in his district, like Olympus, OraSure, and B .Braun. Bethlehem –based B. Braun Inc. estimates the tax will cost $23 million – which represents 79 percent of the company’s current research and development investment.

“It’s not just the company itself that suffers,” Congressman Dent said. “The impact of these revenues will imperil jobs; curtail advanced research and innovation; reduce purchasing from Pennsylvania vendors; and hamper investment in capital equipment. The ripple effect on our economy and on working families will be far greater than the sum of the tax. And ultimately, patients will see increased costs as a result.”

Congressman Dent reiterated his opposition to the health care legislation both for its harmful policies and the unfair procedure by which it’s being forced through Congress.

“This is a tax on innovation, patients and the economy,” Congressman Dent said. “As the Wall Street Journal noted, this provision will ‘tax health care to subsidize people to buy health care that new taxes and regulation make more expensive.’ My constituents understand