Don’t Forget To Take Your Calcium!

November 15th, 2012

My cousin works for a big medical device company.  I spoke to him over the summer about the ways ObamaCare will affect his business, and none of it sounds good.  While most Americans are focused on the health insurance mandate aspect of ObamaCare, there are other taxes and fees in the law that most people don’t know about yet.  One of the dumbest of these (in my humble opinion) is the 2.3% tax on each medical device sold.

We’re not talking a 2.3% tax on profits here.  We’re talking a tax on each and every device sold.  That means there is a tax on every pacemaker, defibrillator, and artificial joint sold (among other life saving devices). It also means that companies who make these devices could be in for an enormous tax bill even if they’re losing money.  Because of that, most of them are currently in downsizing and cost shifting mode.  That can’t be good for prospective patients out there like you and me.

Why are medical devices one of the direct “victims” of ObamaCare?  Evidently, some bean counter in Washington had the bright idea that if the law passed, there would be many more patients out there.  As a result, the enormous tax would be offset by the huge influx of new patients in need of these devices.  The problem?  Most prospective patients in need of the majority of these devices are already on Medicare.  There will be no huge increase in demand because the government already covers the patients affected.  All we’ve managed to do with this goofy tax is insure cost cutting in these company’s research and development programs and potentially put some of them out of business.

Last week, I visited my allergist for my annual check-up on my allergy regime.  He’s a very nice doctor and genuinely seems interested in my overall health.  At least, that’s what I’d like to think because the course of our conversation took an unexpected turn.

“Do you take calcium for your bone health?” he asked matter-of-factly.

“Well, no,” I responded sheepishly.  Besides, I thought, what do my bones have to do with seasonal allergies?

“You need to,”  he replied, “Women at your age need to take a calcium supplement every day.”

Initially, I was kind of upset by the comment.  Am I really that old?  Then, it dawned on me.  He’s not judging me.  He’s simply saving me money.  With Washington in charge of my health now, I simply can’t afford a new knee or hip. . . and neither can you.