Industry sees an opening for med device tax repeal

The medical device industry sees an opportunity to repeal the much-maligned medical device tax enacted to help support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to an article at Forbes.

The 2.3 percent tax on medical device sales was expected to raise nearly $30 billion over its 10-year life by requiring companies that gain from the expansion of health coverage to help pay for the cost of that expansion. But opponents call the tax "burdensome" and "stupid."

The House voted in June to repeal the tax, but despite Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell's promises, that body hasn't taken up the issue, the article points out. The House has voted multiple times to repeal the ACA in its entirety, but the effort has failed in the Senate.

However, Stephen Ubl, president and chief executive officer of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, known as AdvaMed, tells Forbes that the votes are there by "veto proof" margins.

Republicans reportedly are considering attaching alternative medical-device tax provisions to some essential bill to test the administration's willingness to change the legislation. It could be attached to bills on tax reform, federal highway funds or other measures, according to Forbes.

"We don't know how packages will come together by the end of the year," Vincent Forlenza, board chair of AdvaMed, told the publication. "We would have liked to have had the tax repealed by now (but) we are in a situation where it can move forward."

Meanwhile, the trade group issued a report finding that spending on medical devices is not a major factor in increased Medicare spending at participating hospitals.

To learn more:
- here's the article
- read the report (.pdf)

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