Alexander: Medical Device Tax Repeal “Critical To Creating Jobs” For Memphis And Tennessee

Thursday, May 2, 2013

At a press conference in front of Onyx Medical Corp., U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) said he’d push for a repeal of the medical device tax and press the Food and Drug Administration to lessen regulatory burdens on the industry, calling it “critical to creating jobs for Memphis and Tennessee.”

“This burdensome tax on medical devices is already costing Tennesseans jobs and hurting a crucial Memphis industry by increasing costs, stifling investment and ultimately driving up prices for patients in need of medical help,” Senator Alexander said. “Memphis has become an important center for medical devices, and the industry ranks as Tennessee’s top export. Repealing the Obamacare tax on medical devices – devices that save lives – is one of the most important things we can do to create good jobs for Tennesseans.”

The medical device tax, passed as part of President Obama’s health care law, places a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers. Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development has identified medical device manufacturers as among the state’s most important exports, with U.S. Census data showing its $2.1 billion in 2012 ranks at the top of all state exports by dollar value.

Senator Alexander is a cosponsor of legislation to repeal the tax. He also supported a successful amendment to the Senate budget resolution in March, which demonstrated bipartisan support for repeal.

Senator Alexander’s remarks came before a tour of Onyx, which makes materials such as screws and wiring for medical devices. The senator also discussed the importance of battling over-regulation of the industry by the Food and Drug Administration, and working to make sure sequester cuts don’t negatively impact the use of federal money that the industry is still paying in full.

While Onyx does not pay the medical device tax, its customers that make medical devices do, putting price pressure on Onyx to deal with the cost of the tax and harming investment in its industry.

Senator Alexander said, “Onyx is a success story in an industry facing hardship at the hands of Washington.”

He cited as another example Smith & Nephew, a medical device manufacturer with a Tennessee presence that has announced it laid off nearly 100 employees in Tennessee and Massachusetts as it deals with the tax. The Medical Device Manufacturers Association has also reported thousands of lost jobs in the industry.


Free Smoking Cessation Courses Begin In October

More than 16 million Americans live with a disease caused by smoking, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  It also reports one in four adults still use tobacco products, at least occasionally.  The American Lung Association lists smoking as the leading cause of preventable death.   CHI Memorial’s Rees Skillern Cancer Institute offers a ... (click for more)

BlueCross Plans Earn 4-Star Quality Rating For 2016

Two BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee plans each earned an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars for 2016 from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, an accrediting body for health insurance plans. "The star ratings, debuted by NCQA in 2015, are designed to help consumers understand how well a health insurance plan supports its members in getting recommended care. With ... (click for more)

Highway 58 Man Charged In Fatal Hit And Run In Dayton, Tn.

A Highway 58 man has been arrested in connection with a fatal hit and run of a Rhea County man.   Walter Hale was badly injured and later died after he was struck in Dayton.   Authorities were led to Douglas Edward Alvey, 52, through video from the We Care business in Dayton, where the 60-year-old victim worked.   After officers with the Dayton ... (click for more)

Man, 78, Found Dead With Gunshot Wound To The Chest At Residence On Central Avenue

A 78-year-old man has been found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest at a residence on Central Avenue. Chattanooga Police were called to the 1900 block of Central Avenue on Thursday at 10:08 a.m. Upon arrival, Chattanooga Police officers located George Garth deceased. At this time there is no suspect information available. Chattanooga Violent Crimes Bureau investigators ... (click for more)

Patrol Cars Donation To Kevin Muhammad's Nation Of Islam Sets A Dangerous Precedent

Re: City Police donating two patrol cars to Kevin Muhammad's Nation of Islam: While I know it's unpopular to mention the wisdom of separation of church and state, this sets a dangerous precedent and should meet with concern from everyone who values religious and secular freedom. What's next? Southern Baptists getting old city parking scooters to patrol church parking lots ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Thanks A Lot For Nothing

Somebody should have gotten an award last Tuesday when a 90-minute “education summit” involving our school leaders, politicians and media produced absolutely nothing. Zilch. Zero. Oh, there are a number of candidates we could give an award for “nothing,” both in our school district and on its fringes. Yet to find Tennessee Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen brought her high-and-mighty ... (click for more)