Republican congressional candidate Brooks Wicker called on Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth to vote against the medical device tax in the president’s healthcare law on Thursday.
The Affordable Care Act includes a 2.3 percent tax on certain devices to pay for the legislation with an anticipated $29 billion over the next decade. Despite a veto threat from President Obama, the GOP-controlled House passed legislation to repeal the fee by a 241-to-173 vote.
Supporters of the repeal cite a study from the healthcare industry that warns about higher prices and the loss of manufacturing jobs.
Speaking in front of Humana Inc., Wicker told a handful of supporters the tax makes pacemakers and knee replacements more expensive, and Yarmuth needs to explain his support of President Obama’s law.
“I’m calling on him to explain to the citizens of the Third District why he continues to support legislation– Obamacare—which the overwhelming number of people in this community do not support,” he says.
The Obama administration argues the tax will help fund needed reforms and repealing it would pass the costs off to low-and middle-income Americans. Yarmuth voted against the repeal Thursday afternoon, and Democrats have argued the law drives demand for those companies.
But according to The Washington Post, at least three companies, such as hip and knee replacement firms, have announced cuts to their work force. Republicans argue the fee will stymie innovation in the private sector.
During Wicker’s press conference, supporters voiced concern that the candidate doesn't have enough money to mount a strong enough challenge. Yarmuth carries an enormous lead in campaign cash, and Wicker’s supporters wonder if he has enough money to compete.
In the first quarter, he raised $80,000 compared to only $3,000 from Wicker.
Wicker says his campaign will be holding some big-name fundraising events in the future that will show GOP voters this is a competitive race.
“I’ll have to raise enough. The question is how much is enough? It’s not about how much money you raise and how much money you spend it’s whether or not you spend enough,” he says. “And I think we can do that.”
The Wicker campaign hopes to raise at least $100,000 for the second quarter fundraising reports in June.