Jon Stryker is a billionaire philanthropist and gay rights activist who along with his sisters, owns nearly 30 percent of the medical supply company, Stryker Corporation. A staunch liberal, he advocated for Obamacare since it would provide free health care to even more Americans. Now the company he is set to inherit announced last week they are cutting jobs as a preemptive measure against rising costs.
Stryker Corp., a manufacturer of medical equipment, announced they are cutting five percent, or roughly 1,170 jobs worldwide, in an effort to combat higher costs associated with Obamacare. Jon Stryker, whose net worth is estimated to be around $1.7 billion, contributed $2 million to Priorities USA Action Super PAC and gave another $66,000 to the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party.
The young billionaire is also the founder of the Arcus Foundation, whose website touts their work on social justice and conservation. Two of their primary causes include advancing LGBT equality and protecting apes. A newly discovered species of apes has been named in his honor since researchers who discovered it were funded by his foundation.
A licensed architect in Michigan, he is not involved in running Stryker Corp.
One of the primary reasons some medical device firms are antsy these days is because of a portion of the Affordable Care Act commonly referred to as the "medical device excise tax," which levies a 2.3 percent tax on medical device manufacturers such as Stryker Corp. The tax is estimated to cost the industry around $20 billion annually and has to be paid regardless of a firm's ability to produce a profit.
GOP leaders have attempted to repeal the tax but Senate leaders have blocked their efforts. Nonetheless, Stryker officials are blaming Washington.
"The targeted reductions and other restructuring activities are being initiated to provide efficiencies and realign resources in advance of the new Medical Device Excise Tax scheduled to begin in 2013, as well as to allow for continued investment in strategic areas and drive growth despite the ongoing challenging economic environment and market slowdown in elective procedures," Stryker spokeswoman Yin Becker told FoxNews.com. "The reductions and restructuring activities are expected to be substantially complete by the end of 2012."
Company executives have fought the tax ever since it was first included in the health care plan and criticized the government and politicians for talking job creation at the expense of an industry that has created thousands of jobs in the past two decades.
"Here we are, one of the greatest industries in the country, and we're staring down on Jan. 1, 2013 and the addition of a 2.3 percent excise tax, while meanwhile on the other side all the discussion in Washington is about creating jobs," Stryker President and CEO Stephen McMillian said during a national conference of medical device manufacturers in Washington, D.C., last September.
Other companies such as Papa John's Pizza chain and Darden Restaurants have been criticized by liberals for using Obamacare as a reason for cutbacks and staff reductions.
In September the company declared a dividend of $0.2125 per share. The stock opened at $52.57 on Monday morning.