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Health Care

President’s Special JAMA Article Defends Continued Health Care Overreach

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The thesis is more of the same from President Obama and his Administration – a public option and continued federal interference in health care markets will strengthen and improve the legacy of the Affordable Care Act.

The President’s recent submission to the Journal of the American Medical Association is a personal policy defense of his hallmark health care initiative before the medical community. The President even took the opportunity to go beyond ACA and attacked pharmaceutical manufacturers to relinquish hard-earned intellectual property in the name of pricing transparency, a flawed policy approach that will fail to lower prescription drug prices and only stifle medical innovation and future discovery.

Unfortunately, many of the President’s arguments in the special JAMA article fail to recognize the negative impacts of the law on the already-insured and the employer community which robustly provides health insurance for nearly half of the nation’s population.

Ninety-eight percent of manufacturers offer health insurance to employees and anxieties continue concerning the possible implementation of the employee benefits tax – a 40 percent surcharge paid by employers on benefits that exceed a certain cost for a family or individual. Further, manufacturers continue to report significant concerns with rising health care costs.

While Congress has granted a delay of the so-called “Cadillac Tax” until 2020, the President defended the tax as an incentive to improve private sector health plans. For employers, the continued uncertainty surrounding ACA and new bureaucratic entanglements set in motion six years ago have created a headache that has yet to subside.

As the election approaches with a new President and new Congress set to take office in 2017, manufacturers will continue to fight senseless red tape that obstructs the ability to offer quality health care. A permanent repeal of the Cadillac Tax and the punitive medical device tax are top priorities post-November, both provisions of ACA have come to represent balance transfers from productive profit centers to a Rube Goldberg machine that is our health care system. Manufacturers will continue to lead by providing health benefits to employees and will support efforts that make it easier, not harder to provide these important benefits.

ICYMI: NAM’s Boerstling Talks Health Care with RealClearPolitics

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Yesterday, Robyn Boerstling, vice president of infrastructure, innovation and human resources policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, recently sat down with RealClearHealth’s Karl Eisenhower to talk about key health care issues facing manufacturers. In a two-part video series, this clips highlights manufacturers’ concerns about the “Cadillac” tax, rising health care costs and how the Affordable Care Act impacts manufacturers.

To learn more, check out the interview on RealClearPolitics.

Weakening Intellectual Property Protections Has Grave Consequences

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Manufacturers in the United States perform more than three-quarters of all private-sector research and development (R&D) in the nation, driving more innovation than any other sector. If you aren’t on the cutting edge of innovation, then you aren’t competitive in the United States and definitely not in the global marketplace. For manufacturers in Colorado and across the United States, their intellectual property and trade secrets are the keys to maintaining innovation and success.

Innovation has long been the hallmark of U.S. economic growth, yet it is also very risky and expensive.  Without stringent protections in place to protect a manufacturer’s proprietary business information, the effort wouldn’t be worth the reward. Unfortunately, Colorado and a handful of other states are considering misguided legislation that would target some manufacturers to disclose that confidential information. The legislation is disguised as an attempt to increase transparency but instead is a government intervention designed to initiate an unprecedented view of some manufacturers’ proprietary operations.  Read More

NAM Takes on “Cadillac Tax” in The Washington Post

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy, Taxation | No Comments

On Saturday, a letter to the editor from National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Vice President of Government Relations Joe Trauger ran in The Washington Post highlighting manufacturers’ concerns with the employee benefits tax, commonly called the “Cadillac tax.” This 40 percent tax on employee benefits is a major issue for manufacturers as rising health care costs remain a top concern.

“The recent ‘Cadillac tax’ editorial missed the mark regarding the so-called virtues of the Affordable Care Act’s tax on employee benefits. To suggest that doing away with on-site clinics, flexible spending accounts and other benefits is good policy and will reduce health-care spending is misguided. Manufacturers have identified health-care expenditures as one of their top business challenges. The ACA has done nothing to mitigate those concerns. Most manufacturers will tell you that coverage is more expensive as a result of the law.”

Last week, the NAM released a new study looking at this costly tax. NAM’s SVP of Communications Erin Streeter and SVP of Policy and Government Affairs Aric Newhouse discussed the impacts of the tax in our ShopTalk video series and the action congress is debating to provide relief. As soon as this week, Congress could once again be voting on a delay of this costly tax.

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Other Countries’ Drug Prices Are Irrelevant

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been writing about measures in several states that are looking to impose greater reporting burdens on one particular segment of the manufacturing sector in the name of greater transparency. One provision of the so-called transparency measures being debated in several state houses around the country would require manufacturers of medicines to report the prices they charge in other countries for their products. While on the surface this may seem like a useful exercise, in reality, it is completely irrelevant to consumers. The price of medicine in one country or another should have no more bearing on what the price should be in the United States than a similar comparison of the price of ball bearings in Bangladesh or Boston. The point is, they are completely different markets, and countries often differ dramatically in their approach to the delivery of health care to the degree that any comparison is meaningless.

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ShopTalk: We’re Talking Employee Benefits Tax

By | General, Health Care, Human Resources, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Also known as the “Cadillac Tax,” this was meant to be a health care tax on “excessive” heath care plans (or on high benefit health care plans) to help pay for the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately for employers who want to offer and provide good healthcare options for their employees, this tax will create higher costs and lower quality heath care.

Get the latest updates on how decisions made in Washington are affecting manufacturers and their workers every Thursday by watching our ShopTalk video blog series.

So-Called Drug Transparency Legislation in States Doesn’t Help Patients

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

As mentioned in an earlier blog, “Expropriating Manufacturing Innovation,” efforts are underway in several states attempting to require pharmaceutical companies to divulge information no other manufacturing sector is required to submit. While details can differ slightly from proposal to proposal, the basics are consistent and troubling. In states like Massachusetts, Oregon, California and Pennsylvania, legislators are pushing legislation that would require the following:

  • Total cost of production
  • Research and development cost
  • Advertising (to providers and consumers)
  • Marketing
  • Prices charged in foreign markets
  • Domestic prices

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It’s Time to Make Changes to the Affordable Care Act.

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is as partisan an issue as any has ever been. After barely passing Congress in 2010, it has since garnered almost 50 repeal votes of one kind or another from Congress and two major court challenges, nearly all failed. With the very rare exception, the past five years have seen very few changes to a law that desperately needs to be improved, even though there are issues that both sides of the aisle agree should be changed, such as the medical device tax and the so-called Cadillac Tax. At the NAM, we call it the Employee Benefits Tax (EBT), because that’s what it is – a tax on worker’s benefits. Read More

Lower Cost, More Options and Better Information Top Healthcare Concerns

By | Health Care | No Comments

A new survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation was aimed at trying to get past the political wrangling over the various provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and see what the public is generally and genuinely concerned about when it comes to healthcare. The results very closely resemble the concerns of manufacturers around the country and hit upon the three main points the National Association of Manufacturers are focused on. Namely, lowering the cost of care, increasing options for coverage, and better information to make better decisions. Read More

A Sustainable Fix

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For those of us in the healthcare policy field in Washington it has become as ritualistic as the changing of the seasons, the anticipation of the Masters Tournament in April or opening day in Major League Baseball – it’s known as “The Doc Fix.” For over a decade now, Congress has gone through the process of staving off reductions in payments to physicians under the Medicare program. Unfortunately, each year it does so, it gets more expensive to fix it permanently. It’s officially known as the sustainable growth rate (SGR) and the only thing sustainable about the growth rate in this instance is the frustration level most Members of Congress feel about having to go through this rite of passage every year or two. So, it is with great expectation and hope among many in Washington that we find ourselves nearing an agreement on a permanent solution to the madness we put ourselves through with too much regularity. Read More