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Congressmen Greg Walden, left, talks with Dennis Clayville, right foreground and Jim McMahan, on Friday. Clayville is the co-owner of Nature’s Pantry and McMahan is a La Grande dentist. Walden appeared at a luncheon in McMahan’s office. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)
The phase-in of President Barak Obama’s health reform Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is beginning and Congressman Greg Walden, R-Hood River, does not like what he sees.
Walden said the plan is doing nothing more than adding a maze of bureaucratic regulations and new taxes, all of which, he said, will raise the cost of health care and make quality health care less accessible to many Americans. Walden wants big government out of health care but said the reverse is happening under Obamacare.
“We are completely federalizing the system,’’ Walden said during a luncheon in
Exhibit A in the case Walden presented against Obamacare is the gross receipts tax on medical devices which took effect Jan. 1. It imposes a 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales of company’s making medical devices even if a firm does not make a profit in a given year.
“It will have a terrible effect on innovative health care,’’ said Walden who spoke at the office of La Grande dentist Jim McMahan.
Walden said one congressional organization estimates that the gross receipts tax will result in the loss of 43,000 jobs.
The congressman said the gross receipts tax is even hitting those who produce medical devices primarily for animals. A company making devices that are primarily used for animal health still has to pay the full 2.3 percent tax if just a small portion of the devices it produces are intended for human use.
Computer software and android applications related to health care may also fall under the category of medical devices and could be subject to the gross receipts tax. It is now being determined if these will be subject to the gross receipts tax.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,’’ Walden said.
The gross receipts tax is just one of countless changes and regulations that are a part of Obamacare. Walden said the regulations regarding Obamacare fill 20,000 pages. He was recently photographed next to a hand truck with the 20,000 pages of regulations.
“Two metal spikes were needed to keep them in place,’’ Walden said.
The congressman said that despite all the changes Obamacare will enact some officials estimate that 30 million Americans will still be without health insurance once the health plan is fully in place.