National Republicans blast Democrats over device tax

While anyone keeping tabs on the medical device industry needs no introduction to the 2.3% excise tax tied to the Affordable Care Act, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is spotlighting the charge in an attack on House Democrats.

In an email blast sent out to voters in about a dozen districts, the NRCC said the tax will weaken America's economy, citing an industry-sponsored report that claims the 2.3% charge will force devicemakers to cut 43,000 jobs and send much of their business overseas, according to The Hill.

The NRCC's missive is loaded with biting political rhetoric that's clearly targeted more toward rallying voters on Election Day than reviving dwindling effort to repeal the tax. For instance, the tax is said to be "forcing companies to send jobs to countries like China."

The blast targets only House Democrats, all of whom failed to stop Republicans in that chamber from passing a device-tax-repeal bill earlier this year. The repeal effort has been stymied in the Democrat-controlled Senate, however, where that bill sits, un-debated.

In the email, designed to be a one-size-fits-all for House Democrats who voted for the Affordable Care Act, the NRCC says the device tax is a particularly onerous aspect of an already expensive health reform effort. "When Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass her party's government takeover of healthcare to find out what's in it, it's disastrous consequences were worse than anyone expected," NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay says in the letter. "Now, under Pelosi and [Democratic representative's] job-destroying takeover of healthcare, Americans watch their jobs in danger of being shipped to China even after repeated warning[s] from job creators."

However, those "job creators" seem to have resigned to absorbing the charge, at least in the short term. Last month, Welch Allyn announced plans to cut 275 jobs to cope with the 2.3% tax, and Stryker ($SYK) says the charge is forcing it to slash its workforce by 5%.

- read The Hill story
- here's the NRCC's letter