Med­i­cal de­vice tax de­serves a per­ma­nent sus­pen­sion

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the ar­ti­cle, “Think hard be­fore re­peal­ing ACA taxes, some Repub­li­cans warn” (Mod­ern­Health­care.com Dec. 15): I want to cat­e­gor­i­cally state that the med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try never sup­ported the ACA’s med­i­cal de­vice ex­cise tax.

From the be­gin­ning, we rec­og­nized that this was an ill-con­ceived pol­icy that would lead to neg­a­tive im­pacts on jobs, pa­tient care and in­no­va­tion. And we were right. In order to pay for the tax, com­pa­nies were forced to cur­tail in­vest­ments in per­son­nel, R&D and other in­fra­struc­ture projects. Smaller medtech com­pa­nies, where many break­through ad­vance­ments oc­cur, were es­pe­cially hard hit by the tax—to the point where some had to shut­ter their op­er­a­tions.

Fur­ther, un­like other stake­hold­ers, we never sub­scribed to the the­ory that there would be a wind­fall from ex­panded ACA cov­er­age for the med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy in­dus­try. For the most part, de­vices—think pace­mak­ers and ar­ti­fi­cial hips—are geared to­ward an older pop­u­la­tion al­ready cov­ered by Medi­care.

Congress has proven time and again that they agree the de­vice tax was il­lad­vised. Solid bi­par­ti­san ma­jori­ties in both the House and Se­nate are on record in fa­vor of re­peal­ing the tax, and both cham­bers strongly sup­ported the two-year sus­pen­sion of the tax that went into ef­fect at the end of 2015.

Since sus­pen­sion, med­i­cal tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies have been able to rein­vest re­sources that would have gone to the tax into new hir­ing, R&D, restart­ing shelved projects and other cap­i­tal im­prove­ments. This ben­e­fits pa­tients, the econ­omy and Amer­i­can in­no­va­tion. That is why we are urg­ing the new Congress to re­peal this anti-jobs, anti-pa­tient and anti-in­no­va­tion tax now, so com­pa­nies can plan longer term to en­sure these ben­e­fits con­tinue.

Scott Whi­taker Pres­i­dent and CEO Ad­vanced Med­i­cal Tech­nol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion

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