Letter for Your Senators: Taxing Diabetes to Pay for Health Care Reform

For anyone who doesn’t want to see their FSA slashed, their insulin pumps, CGM systems, and glucose meters taxed, and insurance taxed to pay for the proposed health care reform, I would suggest writing to your House representatives and more importantly at this stage, Senators to alert them of your feelings on this.

Here is the letter I wrote this morning, although I highly suggest you modify and/or write your own!

Dear Senator [x],

I am deeply troubled that the proposed House and Senate health care reform bills alike propose to substantially tax the sick and disabled to pay for the proposed changes.

Both the Senate and House bills propose to tax medical devices, but it is obvious to all that these taxes will be passed straight through to consumers of these devices. It seems absurd that notwithstanding President Obama’s pledge not to raise taxes on those making under $250,000 per year, these bills would raise taxes on the poor and middle class making under $100,000 but who utilize medical devices in treatment of their illness and disabilities.

Even worse, the House bill proposes to reduce Flexible Spending Accounts, which many employers limit at $5,000-$7,000, to a limit of $2,500. Yet again, we must ask, who are the consumers who actually use more than $2,500 in a Flexible Spending Account for medical care? It is the ill and disabled - people who buy wheelchairs, hearing aids, kidney dialysis, insulin pumps, and other medication and treatments not fully covered by insurance! The idea that the weakest and most vulnerable members of the poor and middle class should bear the cost of this reform is repugnant.

Finally, the current Senate bill proposes to tax insurance plans over a specific price, again, notwithstanding whether the individual buyer makes under $250,000 per year as President Obama promised. Many of us selected our jobs on the basis of having better health coverage - taking jobs with lower salaries and making other compromises in order to ensure that our health conditions and those of our families are paid for. To penalize those of us who sacrificed other compensation in order to obtain better coverage both violates the President’s pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class and targets exactly the wrong group - those of us who actually pay for our care! Taxing existing health plans is nothing more than taking away my health care - no one can sensibly claim that you can impose huge new taxes on my health coverage and that this is not reducing my care level, since many of us will not be able to afford yet another new tax and will be forced to change to a less expensive policy with lesser coverage.

In sum, several of the means proposed to pay for this tax are grossly unfair and target the sick and disabled, including poor and middle class sick and disabled persons. Whatever one thinks of health care reform, taxing people’s insurance plans and medical devices and reducing the availability of flexible spending accounts, especially for people making under $250,000, is a grossly unfair allocation of the cost of these reforms to those in society least able to bear the burden. Please consider revising the plans under consideration to more fairly allocate the cost among people other than the ill and disabled.

James Wright

Please tell me where I can find the language for the legislation which says such things will be taxed. I cannot fathom this would actually be the case.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 Page 2020, Section 9009 Note: this is the Senate version

from page 2023

(A) has been classified in class II under
section 513 of the Federal Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 360c) and is primarily
sold to consumers at retail for not more than
$100 per unit, or
(B) has been classified in class I under
such section.

also from that page

MEDICAL DEVICE.—For purposes of paragraph
(1), the term ‘‘medical device’’ means any device
(as defined in section 201(h) of the Federal
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321(h)))
intended for humans.

I tried reading thru some of the references… keyword tried. There has to be a list somewhere of what Class a device is…

Flexible Spending Accounts: New limitation imposed on page 325. (For the bill, see http://docs.house.gov/rules/health/111_ahcaa.pdf.)

Medical Devices Tax: Page 339 of the House bill. The House version appears to exclude low cost items like meters, which are sold at retail, but include pumps and CGMS systems, as well as other devices not sold at retail to the general public and requiring a doctor’s or hospital’s interaction.

I haven’t looked at the Senate bill yet and am relying on representations you can find widely in the media about the current version of the bill and its tax on “Cadillac” health plans often held by middle class union employees and others of us at large companies.

Thanks for the link. I’m utterly shocked and now I’m pissed. Thanks for alerting us to this nonsense, Jim!

Thank you for the heads up on this legislation.

Thanks to you, I have now contacted both my senators (both democrats…ugh!) about the hurt this would cause my family.

Thank you very much for exposing this outrageous part of the bill.

Happy to be of service - but I need help, please forward this to as many people as you can, both politicians and even more importantly, people in the media. This needs to be publicized if we’re to have any hope of changing course. The people supporting these bills need to be shamed into at the very least not paying for them on the backs of the ill and disabled.

The device tax originally suggested in the Baucus bill was halved by Harry Reid in the bill intended to go to the floor for debate. The tax would not be imposed on companies with annual sales of less than $5Million. Additionally, the tax would not take effect until 2013. At that time it is speculated that morepeople would be using the devices (increased enrollment) to offset damages. Nevertheless, this increase should be addressed. I do not know what the total expected revenue would be on this. I would certainly want to inquire as to why it was suggested in the first place. Perhaps an exemption for chronic disease devices could be added as an amendment.
The bigger picture here, is that we should all vocally advocate universal coverage so that our diabetic brothers and sisters in arms do not have to think daily about decreasing their testing frequency, lowering their dosages or having to exercise like a mouse on a wheel to get away from DKA.

Here is where my true colors come out.

You can write, you can protest, you can do anything you want, and the Congress will NOT listen. Over 5 Million “pink slips” (google it if you don’t know what it is) have been delivered so far to Congress. They don’t care. Half a million people showed up, they don’t care.Tens of thousands voiced their position in town hall meetings. They don’t care People have been writing their reps for a year. They don’t care. Polls show Americans don’t want this bill, they don’t care.

Democrats, or if you prefer, liberals, want this power and control over America, and they are going to get it. It has nothing to do with their concern for our well being. Don’t waste your time hoping for anything to change. 60 Senators voted to bring the bill to the floor, and 60 senators are going to vote to pass it. Game over.

When you all look at the bill, and its there to be read, you can’t find things because they are well hidden, and kept from public discussion. There is more controlling legislation buried so deeply, it won’t be found until years from now. If its so important, why does it not take effect until 2013? Because that will be AFTER the president gets re-elected running on his “I got you all free healthcare” platform.

Remember all the time, that this entire process and piece of legislation is UnConstitutional, and that Congress does not have the authority to enact it, but they don’t care, and will do it anyway. When asked where she has the Constitutional authority to do so, Ms. Pelosi’s answer was “are you kidding, are you kidding?” That was her answer to a valid question.

I think some of the more intelligent people I know live in these kinds of forums, but there are way too many who are just ignorant, and willing to give up everything in the name of “Free” Well, it ain’t free, and when you find another tax on your toothbrush, or your tampons, remember you heard it here first.

Sadly, its time to report to Mr. Lincoln that as of last Saturday night, government of the people, for the people, and by the people, has truly perished from this earth. Those of us with health care problems, are going to pay an enormous price. Those who are older, are going to find that you cannot have the tools you need to live, because the czar will decide your life is not important enough to spend more money on.

We have let it all slip away. No, we gave it away. I am still searching for the time and place when Americans were actually screaming that they wanted government run health care, and I cannot find it. Liberals don’t care about our health, they want to run our lives, cradle to grave.

This is the worst power grab in the history of the US, and we all sat around and watched it happen.

Complain all you want. They will not listen. Its a done deal. May God help us all.


For all it’s faults, which are many -

  • how is the proposed legislation unconstitutional?
  • in the absence of a public option, what power is being grabbed from whom?
  • what things are in the bill that we can’t find until years from now because they are so craftily hidden?

Thanks in advance,


Certainly Medtronic, and I would guess every other insulin pump and CGMS maker I know, has revenue of a lot more than $5M. And delaying that particular tax until 2013 doesn’t make it any less of a tax on the middle class, flagrantly violating pledges not to impose any such new taxes.

And as far as this being a platform for advocating “universal coverage,” that’s not what this thread was about, there’s another thread for that, but no thanks. They could add the citizens who are uncovered to Medicare for a tiny fraction of the cost of what they’re proposing, but don’t want to do that, because that’s not what this is about - it’s about the government taking control of another 1/6 of the economy. All that has to happen here is that the 40% tax on “cadillac” health plans often held by ordinary middle class people be left at current price levels - after 10 or 15 years of inflation, every private plan will be a “cadillac” plan and private plans will be taxed out of existence for 95% of the population, just like they are in other places with so-called “universal” coverage. (Universal in that if you get a cold, you can always be seen, but when you actually get sick, then you die waiting for treatment.) This is all a part of the scheme.

For my part, no thanks, I’d rather keep my insulin pump and CGMS rather than give them up for so-called “universal coverage” like they have in Britain and Canada where these technologies are only available to a fraction of the people who can get them here, and instead, another 10,000 bureaucrats are hired to deny me that coverage and the Federal Employees Union (the #1 campaign contributing PAC) gets bigger and more powerful and keeps congresspeople in office and making policies increasing the size and power of that union in exchange for those contributions. I have worked damned hard and given up a lot to make sure I have coverage to keep myself alive so that I can care for my wife and child, and the idea of having those things taken away so that they can hire thousands of bureaucrats and move to a centrally planned economy is not appealing, thanks.

Congress has NO authority from the Constitution to grab 1/6 of the US economy and take over our health care. Its not in there, no matter how you twist and garble the words. The notion of what constitutes “general welfare” is clearly enumerated in the Constitution, and it says nothing about healthcare. The tenth amendment explains what to do if a power is not specifically granted to the Congress.

The public option means that if you have insurance now, you can keep it, but the very first time you want to make a change, such as add or subtract a dependent or a benefit, or when the time comes for your company to change its rates, you loose your coverage, and are dumped into the pool of public option to wait your turn. The lie is in the statement that you can keep your insurance. yes, you can, but only until you make a change. There WILL be a public option. That is the key to their power grab. Whenever anyone gets between you and your doctor, there is a problem.

The third one is a silly question. Read the whole 2100 pages yourself, and you will find all kinds of fun things that are unrelated to healthcare in general. Witness the democratic senator from Louisiana who is wavering on support. Then go find the section that promises $100 million dollars to any state that has had all of its counties declared a federal disaster area, but only in the last seven years. There is only one state that meets that criteria. Can you guess which one it is, and can anyone explain why they should get $100 million dollars if its not just to buy a vote.

You will have to live with these consequences for the rest of your life. Don’t take it lightly, don’t take my word for it, and for pete’s sake, don’t just believe what you hear on TV or the radio. Its your life, its your future. I’ll be dead in ten years, so I don’t care much. Others will be paying for this for all their life, both financially, and with their very life itself.

When you are 67 years old, and need a hip replacement, you will have to get past the czar and his minions who may well decide that you are too old, and its too expensive considering your age and usefulness.

Abortion paid for by the masses.

Taxation of medical devices. A pacemaker costs about $25,000, just the device itself. A tax on that? Wow, that’s quite a windfall considering how many are implanted each year.

Pay a fine and go to prison if you don’t want to have health insurance? In America??? Are you serious? Are you serious?

Earn a family income of $100,000 and pay $15,000 a year for your healthcare.

The total cost of the bill for the first ten years is CBO estimated at $2.5 TRILLION, not $849 billion which is the cost for the last six years, not the whole first ten. The CBO is ALWAYS quoting at lower numbers.

Healthcare for illegal immigrants, read that, criminals?

Not enough doctors to take care of the extra 40 million they claim will be coming into the healthcare world. You think its hard to get an appt now, and you have to wait forever when you finally get to the offfice. Think how much worse it will be when 30 million illegal aliens get free insurance, and want to see the doctor every time they have a hang nail, or a bad stubbed toe? That’s one million more patients for every state.

It guts medicare. That means that someone will have to provide a secondary policy for Medicare patients. At the moment, that is mostly handled by AARP. Well, AARP backed the bill, two days after the house started to draft it almost a year ago. They will make billions on that deal and seniors will pay through the nose for it.

When the president says he is going to give everyone coverage, make it better, and its not going to cost any money, and anyone believes that, we know we have reached the end in this country.

No tax on the low income earner? If you make say, $45,000, right now your insurance premium is non-taxable income. Say goodbye to that tax break, for these bills return you to the good old days, and you will pay tax on your premiums. No tax increase for the low income? Lie.

The list is endless. If you have not taken the time to at least try to read the two bills, do not argue about it. Its out there. Go get it and read it. Socialized medicine has failed in every nation that has it.

The only things really wrong with our existing system is no competition across state lines for insurance, and the problem of pre-existing conditions. Only Congress could turn that into a 2100 page power grab of 1/6 of our national economy. To fix those two things, is a ten page document at best.

“For all its faults, which are many” should set off alarm bells, and cause EVERYONE to say NO, let’s slow it down, simplify it, and get it right. Passing a 2100 page bill no one has ever read, that we admit has many faults, is just indefensible and downright suicidal.

This bill has nothing in it for Americans. It is loaded with bennies for the pharmaceutical companies, and destroys the private insurance industry.

Its a total piece of fabricated crap that not one American ever asked for. The worst part is, it will totally bankrupt the United States and destroy us as a sovereign nation.

There is nothing good in that bill, and I am one who has no insurance. This is not the way to fix that problem. They just want to run our lives, from womb, to tomb.

This discussion thread is being closed down.

One of our most important values in the community is that of Diversity and Respect. Quoting from the post “Values of TuDiabetes”:
“We value diverse points of view. All people touched by diabetes are welcome. You may find opinions and positions that are not similar to yours and it’s OK to disagree. It’s just not OK to do so in a disrespectful manner. If you are unsure about whether something may be disrespectful to others, try to put yourself in the shoes of the other person and consider how you would feel if you were on the receiving end of the comments/contribution you are making.”

We don’t expect everyone to agree on everything, but let’s please make sure we do so being mindful of how things come across, respecting others.

We have set up a special area, US Healthcare Reforms for discussions such as this

The TuDiabetes Administration Team