Entries tagged with “health care” from Kathryn Elliott's News Blog

Prostheses providers face federal tax

Funding for the Senate's health care reform bill includes a proposed $4 billion tax on med-tech companies that has gathered a bipartisan contingent of opponents, many from Minnesota, the Star Tribune said.

Local med-tech company executives and prosthetic limb recipients such as Aaron Holm, 43, of Shakopee, Minn., spoke out against the tax at a hearing organized by Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., the Star Tribune said.

"This industry is an American success story. I want to make sure it stays that way," Paulsen said, according to the Star Tribune.

Howard Root, CEO of a Maple Grove heart-device company called Vascular Solutions, said that the immediate effects of the tax would be reduced funding for research and development and the elimination of an internship program, the Star Tribune said.

"We're not the bank to rob to pay for reform," Root said.

As of now, the U.S. House version of the bill contains no tax on the medical device industry, which Minnesota has pioneered through companies such as Medtronic, Guidant and St. Jude Medical, KARE 11 said.

Republican vote moves health care reform a step forward

     With its 14-9 vote on Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee became the last of five Congressional panels to approve Baucus' health care reform bill, The New York Times said.
     The critical backing came from Republican Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) who deviated from the rest of her party in a move that both surprised and gave momentum to the White House agenda, The New York Times said.
     "My vote today is my vote today," Snowe said. "There are many, many miles to go in this legislative journey."
     The bill progresses next to the full House and Senate to debate the implications of requiring health care for all Americans in a measure that will cost $829 billion in the next decade, The Washington Post said.

     Conservatives worry that even with government subsidies, health care will be unaffordable. Another of their concerns is that the federal government would be overstepping its responsibilities in creating a public insurance option, the Post said.
     Democrats and Republicans alike want to rework Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus's health care reform proposal before the legislative process continues.
     The proposal requires Americans to purchase health insurance and penalizes those who do not, using federal subsidies to assist those who cannot afford it, The New York Times reported.
     According to The Washington Post, the plan is scheduled to advance to committee debate on Tuesday and address the challenge of how to make mandatory insurance affordable for 30 million uninsured people in America.
     The proposal's main revenue source- an excise tax on insurance companies' more generous policies- concerns lawmakers of both parties for its impact on the middle class. More positively, it appears the plan will create fiscal stability, lowering the federal deficit over time, according to The Washington Post.
     Baucus himself told the New York Times, "Our health care system is simply unsustainable. It's breaking the bank for everyone, from families to businesses to governments." Baucus's proposal is the least expensive of five health care reform measures currently before Congress, costing $774 billion over 10 years.

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