While Lauding Committee Vote as Progress, Carson Concerned that Senate Health-Care Bill Will Hurt Economy
|WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman André Carson applauded his Senate colleagues for moving forward the debate on health-care reform with the vote this week in the Senate Finance Committee. But Carson warned that the Senate bill, in its current form, does little to bring down skyrocketing costs long-term and could hurt an already struggling Hoosier economy.
The health-care proposal in the Senate calls for nearly $40 billion in new taxes on the medical device industry over the next decade. Carson believes that the new tax could stifle growth of an industry that employs more that 350,000 people nationwide—including several thousand workers in the Hoosier state. He also fears that these new fees could have a negative impact on research and development (R&D), meaning future patients could be denied the benefit of live-saving innovation.
“Health-reform is absolutely critical—both for the health and welfare of the American people, as well as the fiscal stability of our nation,” Carson said. “We must find a way to pay for reform, but these options should not include a tax hike that irreparably harms a critical sector that is driving life-saving innovation and employing thousands of hard-working Hoosiers.”
Carson signed on to a letter submitted earlier this month to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking out against the $40 billion medical device tax ($4 billion a year over the next decade). The letter points out that the tax exceeds the “total $3.7 billion in venture capital funding raised by the medical technology sector and is roughly half of the $9.6 billion in total R&D investment by the industry in 2007.”
Carson, who has been a strong supporter of the public insurance option, also expressed concern with the Senate bill’s exclusion of that key component of health-reform.
“The most effective and efficient way to drive down costs and keep the insurance industry honest is by establishing a public insurance option,” Carson said. “The Senate bill would give the insurance industry a windfall by adding millions of people to their rolls, but offers little incentive for insurers to lower prices and create efficiencies within the system.”
Carson said his focus is helping ensure a quality health-reform bill gets passed by the full House of Representatives. He stressed that no matter what version is passed in the full Senate, there will likely be an opportunity for House leaders to negotiate key provisions in conference committee with their Senate colleagues.
“I remain confident that a strong health-care bill will be sent to the President’s desk this year.”