Just repeal tax on medical devices

If you happen to need an X-ray during a trip to the hospital, you may pay more than necessary for it because of the misnamed “Affordable Care Act.” The same goes for treatment utilizing many other types of health care equipment.

Blame the on-again, off-again tax on medical devices, which will go on again in a few weeks, unless Congress acts.

Former President Barack Obama and other liberals who pushed for the ACA knew very well it would increase health care costs for tens of millions of Americans. The price tag for care for many went up because of the law. So did the cost of health insurance for many others. Inflation attributable directly to the ACA continues.

Congress and President Donald Trump helped many Americans a few weeks ago, in enacting a new tax reform law. One of its provisions is a repeal of the “individual mandate.” It required fining families, sometimes thousands of dollars, if they did not buy health insurance meeting federal criteria.

Never mind what coverage individuals and families wanted and needed; the mandate was designed to jack up insurance prices by requiring inclusion of many types of care, such as maternity coverage for males, no one wanted.

Included in the long list of expensive ACA provisions was the medical device tax. It was enforced for a time, then suspended for several years. The suspension is set to expire at the end of this month.

Under that rule, manufacturers of many medical devices paid a 2.3 percent excise tax to the government. Revenue — estimated at about $2 billion a year — was intended to subsidize other ACA provisions.

Liberals insist the tax harms, in the words of one supportive organization, only “manufacturers who profit under the law.”

That simply is not true. Taxes paid by businesses usually are passed on to consumers. The device tax costs all of us money.

It has been suggested Congress should extend the current suspension of the device tax. No. It should simply repeal the measure.

The tax is one more reason why the ACA’s name is a bold-faced lie — and one more justification for repealing and replacing the whole thing.

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