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Letter from Congress

I wrote a note to our IN-2nd district House representative to the US Congress, Jackie Walorski (@RepWalorski), a couple of days ago, and an email reply came today. No doubt it’s a form letter.

I asked about a recent press release on her official government website, where among other things she said that a 2.3% tax in medical devices (an important Indiana industry) would destroy 10% or more of the industry work force. The math seemed unlikely to me, so I wrote to ask for the source of the information.

As I said, a form letter came back, so of course my question was not answered. Here is the complete email reply:

Dear Mr. Smith:
Thank you for contacting me in regards to the new medical device tax. I appreciate you taking the time to inform me of your thoughts on this important issue.
I recently visited an orthopedic manufacturing company in Mishawaka and spoke with the owner. He expressed concern that the medical device tax – proposed within the president’s Affordable Care Act – will increase the cost of medical devices and prevent him from hiring new employees.
Our economy is currently in the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. The last thing we need is another tax that weakens the economy and makes it harder for new jobs to be created. Instead, Congress should enact legislation that allows our jobs creators to do what they do best—create new American jobs.
One of the first bills that I cosponsored was H.R. 523, the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2013. This bipartisan bill eliminates the 2.3 percent tax on the sale of medical devices. This legislation is needed to ensure seniors maintain access to life-saving medical devices, and prevent another crippling tax increase from going into effect.
Please know that there is no greater honor than serving the people of Northern Indiana. As Congress examines the best ways to create jobs in our economy, rest assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind.
Jackie Walorski
Member of Congress
Indiana Second District
A few years ago I was writing a report for our regional public radio station, and I had similar luck with elected officials–I usually couldn’t get specific questions answered through the public contact route: just form letters. But when I called Washington offices and said I was going on the air soon at a major hometown media outlet, which was true, I was put through to press secretaries and called back and given quotations and the like. Just so you know.
Anyway, this letter does not answer my question. Representative Walorski said 10% of jobs would be lost and she won’t answer where the figures came from. Maybe somebody in Washington just made them up. Maybe a lobbyist.
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