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Reason | An Unhealthy Dose of Obamacare Taxes





In what was already an eventful year, Obamacare generated lots of buzz in 2012, first in the lead-up to the Supreme Court’s much-anticipated ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, and then in the chatter-heavy aftermath of the surprise decision upholding the law. After that, headlines focused on Medicaid expansion (which states would and which states wouldn’t) and health insurance exchanges (which states would take the task on, and which would tell the feds to tackle the mess themselves). But government regulations and new or expanded bureaucracies don’t pay for themselves, you know; they require tax-funding. And we heard relatively little about the plague of taxes and tax changes that now sweep over us with the dawn of 2013.

Actually, we may have heard a little. The medical device industry had the resources to make a futile fuss relatively early about the 2.3 percent tax that is being levied on gross sales, without regard to profitability. That’s right, in the red, or in the black, the medical device industry will have to give the government a cut. According to the Medical Devices Manufacturers Association, a trade group, "Many companies will owe more in taxes than they generate from their operations." The tax, which has its own IRS FAQ, along with 10 pages of helpful guidance (PDF), has somewhat disheartened crafters of pacemakers and brain implants. A survey conducted by theMassachusetts Medical Devices Journal found that "more than 40% of member company executives anticipate job losses as a result of the 2.3% medtech levy."

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