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Robyn Boerstling

Congress Sees the Importance of Addressing ACA Taxes Now, Not Later

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

When it comes to Obamacare (i.e., the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), Democrats and Republicans haven’t found much to agree upon. That’s why it was particularly notable when bipartisan consensus emerged last year around the need to do something about some of the law’s worst taxes: the medical device tax, the health insurance tax (or “HIT”) and the so-called “Cadillac” tax, which is a 40 percent tax increase on “high-quality” health benefit plans. Members in both parties said they believed these taxes at least needed to be delayed from their planned implementation dates, which is why it was so disappointing when legislation did not ultimately pass to do so. The good news is that Congress can still take action on the issue in the upcoming short-term government-funding bill, or CR, that the House plans to consider this week. Congressional passage would take a step in the right direction by allowing the implementation of these taxes to be delayed at various times.

The medical device tax, the HIT and the Cadillac tax were not designed to last due to their burdens, high cost and complexity. That’s why manufacturers have repeatedly urged Congress for much-needed relief from these job-killing taxes. A recent letter to House and Senate leaders can be found here. Unfortunately, the medical device tax and the HIT went into effect this year but the pressure to delay them did not let up. For the medical device tax, the first collection of the 2.3 percent tax comes later this month. Also, the HIT comes online in the form of higher health insurance premiums totaling $22 billion for more than 100 million Americans nationwide. Manufacturers are already planning for the 2020 Cadillac tax, with implementation beginning this year.

Manufacturers need certainty to negotiate health plans with affordable premium costs and best-in-class benefits for our employees. Ultimately, that means these taxes need to be repealed entirely. Members in both parties agree. We’ll continue pushing to get that result. But the CR that the House is prepared to vote on this week offers an important solution in the interim. While not a long-term solution for manufacturers or their employees, it is progress that the National Association of Manufacturers welcomes. We hope the House and Senate will pass this delay and continue working with us on a long-term solution.

Innovation and Continued Reforms Critical to Combating Rising Health Care Costs

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Yesterday morning, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing to discuss a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on the cost of prescription drugs.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent a letter to the committee encouraging an approach that is focused on policies and reforms that are in step with the next generation of health care delivery and the development of new medicines.

No one is more frustrated with rising health care costs than manufacturers. Over the course of the year, a significant number of NAM members have reported premium increases of at least 10 percent annually. In addition, manufacturers consistently rank rising health care costs as a top primary business challenge according to past NAM Outlook Surveys conducted each quarter.

Unfortunately, the National Academy of Sciences report is shortsighted and recommends approaches that will shift costs to the private sector. Furthermore, the report questions the critical importance of intellectual property protections and unfairly blames rigorous intellectual property rights for inhibiting more affordable treatments.

Improving outcomes, boosting innovation incentives and continuing to reduce the approval process for new medicines are a better focus than additional government interventions. Value-based arrangements that focus on outcomes are encouraging, but outdated regulations need to be modernized to achieve greater acceptance, savings and increased efficiencies.

Protecting intellectual property and trade secrets for all manufacturers is critical to the success of the entire manufacturing industry. It is what gives manufacturers assurance that the billions of dollars and time spent developing new products are worth the investment. Without the right incentives, innovation will be curtailed, and competition in the marketplace will decline.

Manufacturers are always ready for health care solutions and will work on efforts that support a successful, competitive and affordable health care system.

Manufacturers Support IPAB Repeal and Urge Health Care Reform to Address Costs

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

While manufacturers continue to seek broad-based relief from the onerous mandates and costs of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congress today will vote to repeal one provision of the ACA that ushered in an unelected and unaccountable board known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).  The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent a key-vote letter in support of the IPAB repeal. The IPAB, specifically tasked to reduce Medicare costs, risked shifting even more costs to the private sector. For example, uncompensated care delivered by hospitals and physicians and uncollectable hospital debt are passed on to patients and employers who provide coverage. This leads to additional and unwarranted increases of manufacturers’ health care costs.

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Protect Pennsylvania’s Innovators

By | Innovation | No Comments

A recent analysis by the National Association of Manufacturers shows Pennsylvania manufacturers are innovators and essential drivers of the state’s economy. In fact, in 2015, total output from manufacturing in the state was more than $85 billion, employing 566,000 Pennsylvanians.

Unfortunately, one proposal up for consideration in the Pennsylvania Senate and currently being considered would jeopardize the industry’s success. The proposal would establish a Pharmaceutical Transparency Commission and require manufacturers in the biopharmaceutical industry to disclose proprietary business information, such as research and development (R&D) costs and production and marketing expenses. While the legislation’s intent of lowering health care costs is very important, the unintended consequences would put Pennsylvania’s manufacturers at a serious disadvantage and have very little impact on health care costs.

R&D is critical for manufacturers to maintain their competitive edge, especially in Pennsylvania. In 2014 alone, the state’s manufacturing industry spent $10.8 billion on R&D, ranking it ninth nationally. As a manufacturer, if you aren’t investing in research and continuously innovating, then you are falling behind. Therefore, it is extremely important that manufacturers’ trade secrets are protected.

This is especially true for biopharmaceutical manufacturers creating new medicines, as the research and investment into finding new lifesaving medications is extremely costly, risky and time intensive. Proposed “transparency” legislation does not account for the true costs of R&D and would devastate intellectual property protections, discouraging future investment into critical cures.

However, this legislation would not just harm biopharmaceutical manufacturers; it would send a chilling effect across the entire manufacturing industry. No manufacturer should ever be forced to disclose the sensitive information that contributes to its success. Innovation is the lifeblood of manufacturing, and it should be protected at all costs. Pennsylvania manufacturers need strong intellectual property protections to continue to innovate, create jobs and succeed in the marketplace.

Health Reform: One Bill at a Time

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments
The House Ways and Means Committee will soon mark up bipartisan legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a non-elected body established as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The original intent for the creation of the IPAB was for the executive branch to form an appointed independent body to decrease the growth rate of Medicare expenditures and do so without the input or approval of Congress. Unfortunately, the IPAB takes congressional oversight and decision-making out of the equation and allows blunt actions to the Medicare program go unchecked. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) agrees with hundreds of other groups: the IPAB must go.

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