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Robyn Boerstling

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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Health Care Inaction Disappoints, Work Will Continue to Address ACA Concerns

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments
While manufacturers are disappointed that the Senate effort to repeal key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not come to fruition by the September 30 budget reconciliation deadline, work will continue to address the employee benefits tax known as the “Cadillac” tax, the medical device tax, the health insurance tax (HIT) and other onerous aspects of the ACA. In fact, while the Graham-Cassidy proposal fully repealed the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices, it was silent on the HIT and the 40 percent excise tax on employee benefits.

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Manufacturers Taking Innovative Risks Leads to Rewards for All

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Innovation in manufacturing requires investment. People, research, facilities and advanced technology are all key components that contribute to the next great breakthrough in products and processes. Manufacturers from every sector have driven innovation because they have placed a high priority on investing in these areas. In fact, manufacturers account for two-thirds of all private-sector investment in research and development. This has resulted in a competitive advantage for manufacturers in the United States allowing them to grow their business here and around the world. Read More

Environmental Streamlining E.O. Opens Critical Relief Valve to Build Additional Infrastructure

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Today, the president issued an executive order to streamline the federal permitting approval process as a part of his infrastructure initiative. Specifically, the executive order will simplify the permitting process to provide for one federal decision that should be made within two years. The executive order establishing discipline and accountability in the environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure projects can be found here. Manufacturers welcome today’s news and have long called for federal leadership in reducing excessive red tape in the environmental permitting process for infrastructure projects. Accountability and transparency for all permitting decisions are critical to achieving a set of best practices and certainty that will encourage additional private-sector investment and efficiency. Infrastructure should build in a period of a few years, not a decade.

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Looming Deadlines on Health Care Taxes Require Urgent Action

By | Health Care, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments
While manufacturers are disappointed that the Senate was unable to pass a full repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in July, legislative efforts to combat the negative consequences of the ACA must not only continue but also be resolved before new taxes raise health care costs.The manufacturing industry has a history of leading the business community in providing health benefits to employees; 98 percent of National Association of Manufacturers’ members provide health insurance to employees. For that tradition to continue, Congress must act quickly to prevent the job-killing ACA-related taxes from going into effect in 2018. That means taking quick and decisive action when the House and Senate return from their August recess.

A new Oliver Wyman report just released demonstrates the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) will result in higher health insurance premiums totaling $22 billion for more than 100 million Americans nationwide. This ACA tax will be paid by many, including those who are “fully insured,” meaning those employers who work directly with insurance brokers to purchase employee health plans. Even retirees who are accessing insurance through Medicare Advantage programs will be hit by the HIT.

For manufacturers who are fully insured and those purchasing individual plans, this tax only adds to rising costs and higher premiums. Joe Eddy, president and CEO of Eagle Manufacturing, told his story before the House Education and the Workforce Committee earlier this year. He explained the ACA taxes and compliance burdens “have been costly, disruptive and distracting from the things we are good at doing as manufacturers.”

According to the Oliver Wyman report summarized here, the HIT could raise the cost of premiums by an additional $540 for employees’ families receiving health benefits from fully insured larger employers. Small business owners and their employees could shoulder an additional $500 for family coverage as a result of the HIT. These cost increases are preventable if Congress acts. Manufacturers provide competitive health benefits to attract and maintain skilled employees and because manufacturers know it’s the right thing to do. Congress should be making it easier to provide insurance, not more difficult.

Regrettably, it’s not just the HIT. The medical device tax—another tax that discourages innovation, growth and job creation—is ready to go into effect next year. In 2015, a temporary suspension of the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers was enacted after 29,000 jobs were lost as a result of the misguided tax. However, that two-year relief runs out at the end of 2017, making full repeal of this tax critical to manufacturers of medical devices. Manufacturers support immediate action to permanently repeal the medical device tax to prevent this tax from eliminating jobs and hurting local economies in all 50 states.

It was unfortunate that the Senate did not pass major health care reform legislation in July, but manufacturers urge the Senate not to give up efforts. Both the House and Senate must advance opportunities to address the burdensome taxes associated with the ACA because the deadlines are around the corner and the clock is ticking.