WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The medical device tax has been used as a pawn by both sides of the aisle during debt ceiling and government shutdown negotiations. Most Republicans in Congress want to repeal the tax and some Democrats do too.
It's this kind of rare bipartisan discussion that makes a repeal possible in Washington D.C. The tax was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act. The tax requires the I.R.S. to accrue 2.3 percent of the sale price of every medical device sold in the United States.
The tax went into effect January 1, 2013 and only a few items are tax exempt, such as glasses and hearing aids. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office expects the tax to add $30 billion to help pay for the first ten years of the Affordable Care Act.
West Lafayette has some skin in the medical device game. Cook Biotech is based in West Lafayette. It is a subsidiary of The Cook Group based in Bloomington. It makes a so-called "fake skin" that is used to treat burn victims and hernia patients.
"Our workforce here is doing some amazingly skilled work," said Cook Biotech President Mark Bleyer. "Most of these products have to be handcrafted so we really have to have advanced manufacturing and good jobs thatgo with that."
Medical device companies all over the country have been clamoring and lobbying for a repeal of the tax. In Indiana, where industry estimates say the state's medical device economy is the country's fifth largest, Governor Mike Pence has also weighed in.
"Repealing the medical device tax is authentic common ground in Washington D.C.," said Governor Pence during a tour of a medical device plant in Indianapolis this week.
Those who want to continue imposing the tax, including many Congressional Democrats, see the law as a good way to fund the Affordable Care Act. They say the $30 billion dollars the tax provides to the law is needed to help fund insurance costs for Americans who cannot afford it.
However, medical device manufacturers maintain that the tax hurts their bottom line. Bleyer said his company would suffer especially after all the up-front costs getting a product to market would bring.
"It takes years to get a medical device to the market," Bleyer said. "It takes a lot of testing, a lot of regulatory clearances, so by the time you get a device to the market, you've already spent a tremendous amount of money."
Indiana State Police announced Monday they are re-opening a 32-year-old murder investigation. They said advances in forensic technology was one reason that led authorities to such decisions.
The Lafayette Urban Ministry has met their goal for this year's Hunger Hike.
The huge number of tree limbs knocked down across Kokomo when two tornadoes hit the city three weeks ago is disappearing.