Letter: Incorrect Assertion

Letter: Incorrect Assertion

To the Editor:

In a letter ["A Manufactured Crisis," Connection, March 12, 2014] Jack Kenny states that the ObamaCare Medical Devices tax applies to fishing poles and tires, and that "the Department of Health and Human Services has asked retailers to not show the tax on your sales receipt."

I found this rather hard to believe and, as I do with many emails I receive regarding supposedly outrageous governmental actions, I did an Internet search. Sure enough, according to many fact--checking websites, this incorrect assertion has been making the rounds for over a year. Briefly summarizing, the Affordable Care Act imposes a 2.3 percent tax on manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices, but it does not apply to fishing poles or tires. It appears this misunderstanding originated due to a mistake in software used by Cabela’s, a seller of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear. According to the Star-Herald, a Nebraska newspaper (Cabela’s headquarters are in Nebraska), on Jan. 1, 2013, "A companywide glitch in Cabela’s cash register system that added a 2.3 percent ‘Medical Excise Tax’ to customers’ purchases — everything from boots to bullets — was an error and will be refunded, a company spokesman said Monday."


Unfortunately, a copy of one of the receipts showing the tax was posted on the Internet and the fun began.

I should note there are manufacturers taxes on a variety of items, including fishing poles and tires (IRS Publication 510; www.irs.gov/publications/p510/ch05.html), but they are not related to the Affordable Care Act.

Fred Siskind