Senator Tom Harkin to Tax Prosthetic Limbs and Other Vital Medical Devices, Refuses to Exempt Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day with parades and barbecues, America's veterans face a new tax on prosthetic limbs and other vital medical devices.

The health care overhaul passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama earlier this year contains a new tax on medical devices such as prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, and wheelchairs.  This tax, which its proponents claim will raise $20 billion over the next ten years, contains no exemption for the nation's 22 million veterans.  In fact, Senate Democrats specifically refused to exempt veterans from the tax.

On March 24 2010, Senate Democrats rejected an amendment offered by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to the healthcare bill.  This amendment (SA 3644) would have prevented the medical device tax from hitting veterans covered by the Veterans Healthcare Program or TRICARE for Life.  This amendment was rejected by a vote of 44-54.   Sen. Tom Harkin voted in favor of retaining the tax for veterans.

The medical device tax was one of over twenty new or higher taxes in President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul.  This permanent new tax is being collected now.

"On March 24, Senator Harkin had the opportunity to exempt our veterans from Obamacare's new tax on medical devices such as prosthetic limbs.  But he voted against the measure.  Harkin chose to side with the tax-and-spend crowd in Washington over our wounded warriors," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  "This is one of the many reasons Harry Reid and the Democrats did not want Americans to read the 2,500 page health care bill before it was passed."

In addition to those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Department of Veterans Affairs reports the following number of veterans from America's wars:

World War II:                         2,079,000

Korean War:                           2,507,000

Vietnam War:                        7,569,000

Desert Shield/Storm:           2,254,000

Americans for Tax Reform is a non-partisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups who oppose all tax increases.  For more information or to arrange an interview please contact John Kartch at (202) 785-0266 or by email at jkartch@atr.org.

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