Obamacare Taxes Could Hit Smartphones And Tablets, Congressmen Warn

Joe Schoffstall
By Joe Schoffstall | March 6, 2013 | 12:49 PM EST

Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee warned a medical tax in the Affordable Care Act that regulates medical devices could apply to Americans' smartphones and tablets by regulating them due to lack of clarity of what constitutes 'medical equipment'. 

The committee pressed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to explain how it plans to implement the regulations, believing they could be applied to electronic devices 

The leaders wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, "With the growth of the smartphone and tablet market in the United States, the use of applications to monitor health information on these devices has also increased.  Some medical applications are used to monitor health information, like diet and fitness data.  Other applications can be used to monitor chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure."

The members warned, "This could affect the growth and innovation in this market. It raises the possibility that these companies would also be subject to new taxes under the PPACA (Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act)."

The FDA first proposed regulating mobile medical apps in July 2011. The committee members cite lack of clarity as their main concern and ask the FDA to clarify its intentions by March 15, 2013. 

Republicans aren't the only ones worried about the tax. In December, a group of Democrat U.S. Senators sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) asking him to delay the implementation of a medical tax in the Affordable Care Act that could have a negative impact on the industries two million manufacturing jobs.

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