Medical device tax deserves a permanent suspension
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