Friday, October 23, 2009

Obama to tax ICDs, pacemakers

I just read this story over at The Hill:

The more the fiscal details of the healthcare bills emerge, the more appalling they seem. The Senate Finance Committee bill includes a broad provision taxing all manner of medical devices. This tax includes such frivolous luxuries as pacemakers, stents, artificial heart valves, defibrillators, automated wheelchairs, mechanized artificial limbs, replacement hips and knees, surgical gurneys, laparoscopic equipment and the like.

Funny, I just now finished reading physician David Gratzer's new book,Why Obama's Government Takeover of Health Care Will Be a Disaster which states that if Barack Obama has his way, the American health care system is headed for a train wreck. The train wreck is here, folks, and if we don't continue to fight back, those of us with severe medical problems will pay the price.

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Blogger DADvocate said...

Making health care affordable for all by making health care more expensive? Makes perfect sense to me.

At some point in our lives virtually all of us will need medical devices of some sort. This is complete idiocy.

3:26 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger Dr.D said...

I recently had a pacemaker put in. Does this mean that I will pay an annual tax on it? Or would that be a one shot tax, like a sales tax? If it is a reoccurring tax, can I avoid the tax by having it removed? (I can live, for a while at least, without it.) What a deal ObamaCare is going to be!

3:45 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...

Dr. D,

I think the tax will be to the medical suppliers but my guess is that it will be passed down to those of us who need these devices.

4:42 PM, October 23, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Headed for train wreck? We are there without Obama....and getting worse and worse.

Now I am not concerned about myself. My wife gets health coverage. But what she is given in health coverage is money she is not given in salary.
And how many people that had coverage have lost it when they lost jobs? And
how many with pre-existing conditions (too fat, too thin, diabetes etc) can't get covered? And how many jobs now charge the worker for part of the coverage?

Govt involved? sure. Medicare, medicaid, V.A. and all our military...and it works!

Why not stop griping and offer a solution. What Would You Do to make it work?

4:53 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

The way Barry's approval rating is skyrocketing DOWNWARDS at historical rates, he won't be passing anything. So just hunker down my fellow conservatives & Libertarians and we can defeat this Alinskyite yet.

5:15 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

fred wrote: "Medicare, medicaid, V.A. and all our military...and it works!"

You don't work in health care of have any of those insurances do you fred?


6:34 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger MJ Fan said...

Okay, leave it as it is. The next time you get raped by an insurance comapany you will have NO reason to whine. And don't say you want to change it, just not Obama's way. If you had your choice you would not do anything. Ever.

7:17 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

I like the idea of cutting you old people off from health care coverage. If you are all cut off, you'll die sooner. If you die sooner, everyone else benefits. The sooner you die, the less health care resources you consume, thus lowering demand and thereby prices. Plus, if you all die, a huge amount of wealth will pass to my generation. Woohoo!

8:34 PM, October 23, 2009  
Blogger pdwalker said...

Demorats never met a tax they didn't like.

That's what happens when you vote for those pieces of human excrement.

(as opposed to the Stupidians who just spend everything they get)

12:50 AM, October 24, 2009  
Blogger John Burgess said...

J. Bowen: Inefficient solution.

More efficient would be to kill all newborns. That way, they'd accrue no health care costs, ever.

If that proved insufficient, then we could start trimming upwards, until we eventually found the break-even point at around, say, 30.

9:26 AM, October 24, 2009  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

i think what fred is saying, and fred...if i`m wrong , i`m sorry, but the economy is a zero sum game.

if we want stuff, we have to pay for it.

for too long people have had the idea that government was some benign benefactor, or conversely, that it was the evil tyrant.

the truth is that, economically at least, they have our money and they are trying to spend it in our best interest.

(of course, they are taking a bit for themselves...y`know, for yachts and mansions and artwork and another yacht and a place in spain and thier own health program...)

y`see, it`s lawyers up there in washington, and so they publish bits of paper. that`s what they do.

they publish bits of paper. and if they do a good job the bits of paper go into a museum for kids to visit on field trips.

now. if it was accountants that ran things, then there wouldn`t be the fivolities and extras, and the bits of paper would be in cardboard boxes in a warehouse...and nobody would visit.

and we still wouldn`t have a better system.

maybe we need to let the trustees in bancrupcy run things.

or just kidding.

i think we just need to brace ourselves for the impact and stop pointing at the other "side" to blame.

`cause there aint one.

and fred, i know you weren`t saying most of that, i just got carried away.

9:38 AM, October 24, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Want to fix the problem?

Medical liability reform.

Healthcare Savings accounts.

Allow interstate competition between insurance companies.

Tax credits for people who buy their own insurance.

Put rapid care clinics in every emergency room in America. Staff them with med and nursing school students who will pay in kind for their student loans.

Immigration officers in every emergency room in America.

Allow small business groups to consolidate to pool employees in order to purchase insurance more cheaply.

Reduce student loan debt to primary care physicians.

These are mostly from the Republican health care plan and bill that the lying asswipes in our Congress say do not exist. The lying buttkissers in the media repeat the lie when they could do a 10 sec Google search to refute the lies.

I am no Republican, but these are more conservative and viable and less toxic than the sewage working through the progressive digestive system.


9:42 AM, October 24, 2009  
Blogger AMac said...

The fee in the bill reported out of the Senate Finance Committee on 10/19/09 is to be $40 billion over 10 years. As stated in this post, it is to be collected from device manufacturers and importers in proportion to their share of the US market.

So that's $4b/year on a market that's estimated to be $120b. Thus, this proposal has the effect of being a 3% sales tax on devices sold in the U.S.

(By the way, as the FDA sees it, "devices" includes most laboratory tests and many other diagnostics. E.g. a blood test for lipid levels is a "device" that will be taxed.)

There are only a few ways for device makers to pay this 3% sales tax:

1. Raise prices 3% (duh).
2. Cut payouts to investors.
3. Cut internal spending, which means R&D.

Re: #2, most big device makers are "growth" companies that don't issue dividend checks to shareholders. Many small device makers are innovative, early-stage money-losers. So "cutting payouts" is more problematic than Sen. Baucus' staffers may realize.

There are also some complications as to the tax consequences of this penalty. They may make the rate higher than the 3% I estimated. At this point, that's hard to figure, especially given the turgid way that America's Healthy Future Act of 2009 is written.

A good source of information on health care reform legislation is Robert Laszewski's blog. It isn't a pretty story.

9:58 AM, October 24, 2009  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

It will be interesting to see how the The SCOOTER Store does. You know them, they are the one guaranteeing that they will tell you in advance if you can get a free scooter. You see their ads on TV all the time.

It turns out that the way it works is that if you need a scooter to perform major tasks around your house, Medicare may pay for 80% of a scooter and your Medicare suppliment the other 20%.

I really liked their luxury scooters. Looked almost street legal. I wonder if you could combine the Medicare payment and the green rebate for battery vehicles to make a bit of money. We were talking the other day about getting free golf carts, and this may even be better.

Of course, that presupposes that you are eligible for Medicare, which most of us aren't yet.

7:56 PM, October 24, 2009  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

The reality is that there is a heck of a shell game going on right now with the Democratic health care proposals. This part of it though is even wackier than most. As someone pointed out, the plan here is to reduce costs by increasing costs.

Some medical care is discretionary, but pace makers and the like are not. There really aren't any low cost substitutes. Ditto for stints, and much of the rest of this stuff. The alternative may be death. Of course, that would bring up Palin's Death Panels, deciding what care we can get, what we can't, so we can't go there. Except that when looking at costs, the Death Panels will have to factor in the added tax when determining whether or not a treatment was cost effective.

My personal worry concerns neuro-stimulators, also made by Medtronics. No doubt they would be taxed too. But they really do work to greatly reduce chronic back pain. The alternative, of course, is a life time regime of heavy narcotics, and, likely a scooter from The SCOOTER Store.

MY SO had two of them in, they each got infected, and were taken out (and so she is on the narcotics right now). Our hope is that we can get the one put back in for her lower back before ObamaCare becomes fully effective. She still has in the leads into her spine, so the surgery should be maybe half as long this time around.

8:07 PM, October 24, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:09 PM, October 28, 2009  
Blogger Unknown said...

What a laughing stock this nation is. It's ok to socialize the military and violence but it's not ok to give a little care for everyone? No wonder my greedy relatives from India and the pols in Washington love you. Anyone who detests universal health care is just a jealous psycho who has it all but invents fears.

2:11 PM, October 28, 2009  
Blogger Xiaoding said...

There are several things going on with this issue.

First, and foremost, is the immorality of this once great nation.

No health care for all? No matter what an individuals circumstance? In the richest country in the world? God curses us. Our greatness shall be removed. It is as bad a stain as slavery, on our national honor.

Since we have such corruption, no one will trust the government to solve this problem, so the government cannot solve this problem, not in the way our grandads solved their problem, by government provided services.

The notion of what government can do, is changing. The people, and their government, must also change. There is no choice in this.

This is no excuse, however. God cares not for our excuses.

10:09 PM, October 29, 2009  
Blogger kentuckyliz said...

Ranjit, how's that universal health care working out in India?

Yeah, thought so.

1:41 PM, October 30, 2009  

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