“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the legislation before us to reduce health care costs and expand patient freedom in health care decision making.
“Speaker Boehner and I made clear yesterday that the House will not act to raise taxes on anyone. The bill on the floor today is one step of many that we will need to take this year to ensure that end.
“Even though the medical device tax has not yet been applied, the tax has already led to job losses and threatens to reverse America’s role as a global leader and innovator in the life sciences industry. We know if we want to encourage innovators, we cannot tax them.
“Mr. Speaker, with all of the bipartisan action in the House and Senate on legislation to improve the approval process for drugs, biologics, and medical devices at the Food and Drug Administration, it would reasonable to assume that Congress could find common ground on issues that are core to promoting jobs and innovation.
“Unfortunately, don’t expect this bill to reach the President’s desk in a timely fashion; even with Members from both parties calling for the repeal of this harmful tax. The medical device tax was created as part of the new health care law, and for that reason alone, the Administration continues to defend this tax which was only created to fund an unworkable law.
“In fact, Mr. Speaker, the President has threatened to veto our bill, because the tax will pay for his health care law. We shouldn’t be increasing taxes to pay for a law that a majority of Americans want repealed, a law that even some ardent supporters admit will not work as intended.
“Mr. Speaker, the real price is being paid by the American people. A tax on medical devices will harm patient care, not improve it. With this tax, it will now be more expensive for patients to walk into the exam room, because the bed itself can be classified as a medical device. The tax will dramatically alter the research and development budgets of medical device companies.
“Mr. Speaker, just yesterday a constituent of mine from Richmond requested that Congress recognize the vital importance of research funding and the direct impact that it could have for her son, Joshua, who was born with rare and serious heart defect. Only 8 years old, Joshua has already braved three open-heart surgeries. There is no medical procedure today that can help this little boy. We need to encourage the medical innovations, not stifle them with taxes, so there can be hope for kids like Joshua.
“Further, the tax is directly causing job losses and could directly impact small business growth as the medical device companies often start with just a few employees. Overall, this tax could result in the loss of tens of thousands of American jobs in an industry that is key to economic growth.
“Mr. Speaker, the President’s veto threat is notably silent on the other two major provisions of this bill, provisions championed by Representative Lynn Jenkins and Representative Charles Boustany to give patients more control over their health savings accounts and flexible spending arrangements, respectively.
“Are these provisions acceptable to the White House? Will health savings accounts even be permitted if the President's health care law remains on the books? The uncertainty caused by the law highlights once again how truly flawed it is and why all of the President's health care law must be repealed.
“Mr. Speaker, there are many difficult issues that Congress must address to ensure America remains a country of opportunity, innovation and growth. Supporting this bill should be easy.
“I would like to thank Representative Erik Paulsen for his leadership in advancing this legislation to eliminate a harmful tax. And I want to recognize the leadership of Chairman Dave Camp who is working to put forward pro-growth tax reform that will make our tax code simpler and fairer and result in a growing economy.”
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)
House Floor Remarks
June 7, 2012