With politicians in Washington looking for a solution to the government shutdown, the governor offered his proposal for a compromise again on Tuesday. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) made a campaign-style visit to a medical device manufacturer. It’s his latest pitch for a repeal in the medical device tax that is a part of Obamacare.
Pence toured an east side plant owned Greatbatch Medical. It’s a place where medical devices used in surgery are manufactured. It’s owned by a corporation that is already paying a tax of 2.3% on each device, a tax that took effect at the first of the year.
“Repealing the medical device tax is authentic common ground in Washington, DC,” said Pence following the tour.
The governor believes money can be found elsewhere in the federal budget to cover the income from the medical device tax. He sat down with CEOs from a number of medical device companies to hear about the benefits of a repeal, things like more money for research and development.
“It does have a material impact in our ability to make those investments.” said Mauricio Arellano of Greatbatch Medical, “and generate the jobs that we’ve been able to generate thus far with our presence in Indiana.”
20,000 people work in the medical device industry in Indiana. An industry spokeswoman says innovation is also hampered by the new tax.
“I want you to focus on not just the jobs,” Peggy Welch of the Indiana Medical Device Industry Council told reporters, “but the health of the citizens of Indiana and across the world.”
But the governor keeps coming back to the federal shutdown. “I’m going to continue to champion those efforts,” said Pence, “and believe it is a part of what could be an agreement to get the government reopened.”
There is bi-partisan support in the Senate for repeal of the medical device tax but the President says he won’t address it unless the government shutdown ends first.
Meantime, the governor announced that, if necessary, state government will pick up the costs for some federal programs, including welfare programs, through the end of October. The state will, however, seek reimbursement when the federal government shutdown ends.