Welch Allyn has a plant near here where they make medical devices. They announced yesterday that they are going to have to fire people to cover the costs of a new tax on this equipment that is part of the Affordable Care Act. They said they will have to fire 45 people over the next 3 years. Of course we don’t want anyone to lose his/her job in this economy, but it is difficult to interpret this as anything other than manipulation. I am guessing that the profits Welch Allyn totes up each year will more than cover the total 2.3% tax that will be levied and still leave plenty of profit. Their blatant move appears to be motivated by a strategy designed to get this tax removed or to affect the 2012 election (get people to elect Republicans out of fear of further job losses) or get the Affordable Care Plan scrapped (or perhaps to accomplish all three goals). I’m guessing more companies will jump on this bandwagon.
Did we really think that the medical businesses being asked to find ways to cut costs (and perhaps profits) were going to give in to these changes without using subtle or not so subtle threats to get the government out of their hair? I would guess that the fact that medical businesses have been getting Republicans to fight Obamacare shows that the Affordable Care Act is on target and will eventually produce lower health care costs. We must hang tight and not let these companies play chicken with us by threatening job cuts instead of cost-cutting measures. We are very happy to have Welch Allyn in our community and we don’t want to drive them away, but we cannot let them use fear tactics to undo health care reform. I suspect their bottom line will hold up.