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Buerkle signs up to fight medical device tax

medical devices.jpg
Randy Cox
via Flickr
A tax on medical devices sold in the U.S. starts in 2013.

Republican Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle is co-sponsoring a bill to remove a medical device tax from the new health care law.

The tax is part of the funding solution that Congress rigged up to pay for healthcare overhaul. If the tax stands, it'll kick in starting in 2013.

AdvaMed, the medical device-lobbying group, has a boilerplate statement saying that it supports the removal of the tax, but isn’t aggressively pushing for the legislation. It’s waiting to see if Congress makes any other changes to the law.

Republican Erik Paulsen from Minnesota introduced the legislation. In the senate, Utah's Orin Hatch is introducing a companion bill. Buerkle, who represents Syracuse and parts of Rochester, says the bill sends a good message to device makers, that:

“We’re not going to get the way of your success. We don’t want to hurt your business, and we’ll make changes to this law to allow you to proceed without raising taxes on you." 

Buerkle favors an outright repeal of the entire health overhaul law, but says she'll go after the bits she finds most offensive with measures like the device tax bill.

Meanwhile device makers, like Welch Allyn from Skaneateles, and ConMed from Utica, are working on ways to absorb the tax, which could include passing the cost on to customers, like hospitals and health clinics.