DENVER–Say this for Colorado Democratic super-donor Pat Stryker, she isn’t letting her family’s financial interests get in the way of her political beliefs.
Stryker Corp., which manufactures medical devices, confirmed this week that the company will lay off about 1,000 employees as a result of a 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices starting in 2013 under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
Stryker Corp. was founded by surgeon Homer Stryker, Pat’s grandfather, from whom she inherited her estimated $1.4 billion fortune. Stryker has plowed millions into Democratic campaigns on the state and national level, including 2012 donations to the Obama reelection effort and a pro-Obama Super PAC.
Her support for President Obama came despite pre-election warnings that Stryker Corp. would be forced to reduce its workforce in response to the Affordable Care Act. Although Stryker and her siblings own nearly 30 percent of the company, the Fort Collins philanthropist is not involved in running the firm.
“Remember, she didn’t build the company,” said Independence Institute president Jon Caldara, a staunch critic of Obamacare. “She must not understand that government cripples business . . . If she cared about employees, she wouldn’t give to the left.”
The company announced in November 2011 that it would lay off 5 percent of its 20,000 global employees, and issued 107 layoff notices in June in compliance with federal law that requires large companies to give workers six months’ notice before termination.
In a statement Tuesday, Stryker President and CEO Kevin A. Lobo made it clear that the layoffs were directly related to the increased costs on business imposed by the Affordable Care Act, which is scheduled to be fully implemented in 2014.
“Stryker remains significantly concerned with the upcoming medical device excise tax and its negative impact on jobs and innovation, and will continue to work with Congress to try to repeal the tax,” said Lobo.
The company “expects to owe approximately $100 million in the first year alone, equating to over 20 percent of our annual, global R&D investments,” said Lobo.
“We would rather put this money towards jobs, innovation, clinical research and priorities that will create value-added medical technology for patients while helping us partner with hospitals to deliver cost-effective solutions,” he said.
Supporters of Obamacare argue that all Americans will benefit from access to free or low-cost medical care, while critics argue that the program will result in an enormous government expansion and less prosperous economy.
The 107 termination notices were issued in June to workers in the company’s facilities in Orchard Park and West Seneca, N.Y. Stryker Corp. is headquartered in Kalamazoo, Mich., but no additional layoffs had been announced as of Monday, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.
In August 2012, Pat Stryker donated $25,000 to the America Votes Action Fund, a pro-Obama Super PAC. She contributed $140,100 to Democratic candidates, including Obama, during the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Pat Stryker isn’t the only member of the family involved in liberal politics. Her brother Jon Stryker donated $2 million to the Priorities USA Action Super PAC and $66,000 to the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party during the last election cycle, according to a report Monday by FoxNews.