Published: Jul 6, 2010
Wounded Warriors Taxed by ObamaCare for Prosthetic, Medical Devices
by Jim Kouri

"You will not see your taxes increased a single dime." - President Barack Obama

"We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy." - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

As the nation celebrates 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 Barack 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., according to officials from the non-partisan, public interest group Americans for Tax Reform

"Did Americans forget President Obama promising that Americans making less than $250,000.00 per year would not see their taxes go up one cent? Once again a politician is caught lying to the voters," said political strategist Mike Baker.

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. All but five Democrat senators 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 already being collected by the federal government.

"On March 24, Senate Democrats had the opportunity to exempt our veterans from Obamacare's new tax on medical devices such as prosthetic limbs. But 54 Democrats voted against the measure. They 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," Norquist added.

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

The following senators voted for the tax:

 Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
 Max Baucus (D-MT)
 Evan Bayh (D-IN)
 Mark Begich (D-AK)
 Michael Bennet (D-CO)
 Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
 Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
 Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
 Roland Burris (D-IL)
 Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
 Ben Cardin (D-MD)
 Tom Carper (D-DE)
 Bob Casey (D-PA)
 Kent Conrad (D-ND)
 Chris Dodd (D-CT)
 Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
 Richard Durbin (D-IL)
 Russ Feingold (D-WI)
 Diane Feinstein (D-CA)
 Al Franken (D-MN)
 Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
 Tom Harkin (D-IA)
 Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
 Tim Johnson (D-SD)
 Edward Kaufman (D-DE)
 John Kerry (D-MA)
 Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
 Herb Kohl (D-WI)
 Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
 Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
 Pat Leahy (D-VT)
 Carl Levin (D-MI)
 Joe Lieberman (ID-CT)
 Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
 Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
 Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
 Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
 Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
 Patty Murray (D-WA)
 Ben Nelson (D-FL)
 Mark Pryor (D-AR)
 Jack Reed (D-RI)
 Harry Reid (D-NV)
 Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
 Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
 Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
 Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
 Arlen Specter (D-PA)
 Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
 Mark Udall (D-CO)
 Tom Udall (D-NM)
 Mark Warner (D-VA)
 Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
 Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and a staff writer for the New Media Alliance

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