We haven't written about the medical device excise tax for a solid 5 months Let's revisit, shall we.
First off, let's not dismiss the fact that the opposition to the medical device excise tax is alive and well. Although it's been in existence for a year and a half now, Republicans and some Democrats haven't given up hope of taking it down. The medical device industry continues to argue that the tax will harm innovation, although evidence hasn't been successfully brought forward to demonstrate this fact in fact, it appears that research and development funding hasn't been impacted at the big US-based companies at all. Some are even using the massive acquisitions happening such as Zimmer's multibillion dollar acquisition of Biomet or Medtronic's blockbuster acquisition of Covidien as evidence that we shouldn't feel sorry for medtech. In the words of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat: I'm not going to cry any big tears over the device folks. Their profits were huge this year.
However, even some of those who agree that the medical device industry can't complain about the tax object to it for other reasons it's perceived as some as a weaker link in Obamacare, and taking it down could therefore help objectors to chip away at the entire Affordable Care Act.
And finally on a more lighthearted note and I can't believe I only found this now it appears that some retail stores mistakenly applied the medical device excise tax when it came into effect in January 2013. Anti-Obamacare-ers were only too quick to jump all over this and make snide comments about free health care. Hilariously, this became enough of a thing that it ended up on Snopes.com, and the stores in question had to sort out a glitch in their tax software before offering customers a refund. While the debate continues about how much your average Joe is affected by the medical device excise tax, the law does clearly state that goods intended to be sold directly to consumers through retail channels are exempt.