Kyrillos criticizes Menendez support for healthcare act, medical device tax

Going on offense today in a flailing economy, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R-13) targeted the Affordable Healthcare Act as he criticized his opponent, U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

On a tour of a medical device manufacturer in New Providence, Kyrillos argued that the healthcare industry will soon face record high tax increases, including the New Jersey-based C.R. Bard, which must shoulder a 2.3 percent medical device tax.

“This tax will effectively diminish the ability of medical device manufacturers, like C.R. Bard, to innovate and produce quality medical products for their consumers,” Kyrillos said. “Companies will be forced to raise prices in order to remain solvent due to this tax. That increase in price will then be passed along to the consumer in the form of more expensive health insurance, or more out-of-pocket healthcare spending. This tax will also greatly diminish the amount of money the industry will be able to set aside for research and development, making us less competitive and advanced in the global marketplace.

“Our healthcare spending as a country already far surpasses what it should. We need real reform that deals with the most basic problems of our healthcare industry. Senator Menendez is clearly mistaken if he thinks that higher taxes within a convoluted matrix of new laws and regulations is real reform.”

Menendez has repeatedly argued that the healthcare act initiated by Congress and President Barack Obama would ultimately cut costs as a consequence of requiring greater numbers of people to have health insurance. 

“Senator Menendez proudly voted for the Affordable Care Act because it provides more than 30 million Americans, including thousands of New Jersey’s families, access to they care they need – including medical devices,” said campaign spokesman Paul Brubaker. “The law also has ways to pay for that health care. One of those ways is through an excise tax on medical devices, which was originally proposed as a $4 billion fee over 10 years to device manufactures. It was because Senator Menendez’s fighting for New Jersey’s interests that the cost to the medical device industry was cut by half.

“While the Affordable Care Act is not a perfect bill, it can be amended – unlike the fiscal damage from the failed economic policies Senator Menendez’s opponent is quick to support. Instead of desperately trying to rehash old partisan arguments about health care, and letting right-wing special interest groups do his thinking for him, Senator Kyrillos ought to be listening to middle class NJ families. Clearly, Senator Kyrillos still supports the previous unsustainable status-quo that allowed insurance companies to discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions, and left nearly 1.3 million people in New Jersey without coverage.”

Kyrillos, however, cited a May 2012 study by the Pacific Research Institute noting that medical research and development will decrease by nearly $2 billion as a result of this tax. Another study, produced by the American Action Forum, found that this tax will force the medical device industry to decrease its workforce by up to 47,100 people, or 10% of the entire workforce.

Kyrillos criticizes Menendez support for healthcare act, medical device tax