What better way to start the new year than to revisit one of the most dwelled-on topics in the medical device world: the medical device excise tax. Maybe it can at least distract us from insanely low temperatures coming through the Northern US and Canada, causing us to go to work wearing several layers of pants and wake up in the night due to disconcerting booms as a result of frost quakes.
Contrary to the hopes of the industry, the medical device tax has officially survived 2013. Is it a smidgen closer to being repealed I'm not even sure anymore. Every week or so since 2012 my newsfeed informs me that the tax is nearing its demise, but it seems to have lingered on. And the industry has shown no signs of giving up the battle just yet. Industry advocates were quick to point out the initial low enrolment in the new healthcare plans, which robs medical device companies of one of the promised upsides of the ACA: more customers. Vets have even joined the argument, saying that they are suffering the downsides of the tax on medical devices intended for animals (which are not exempt), without benefiting from increased patient volumes.
Yet I found this article interesting, which brought a fresh perspective on the debate. While the medical device excise tax might be unique to the US, universal health care is not, and that is the ultimate goal driving Obamacare, and by association the tax. While the Act itself likely still requires some tweaking, the ultimate goal should likely be something that medical device and pharmaceutical companies applaud.
Maybe this article has a point. Big picture: the US continues to spend $7 trillion on health care every year, which is massive. Resolution #1 for 2014 Stop whining.