Medical device tax: Companies (cautiously) optimistic on repeal

October 8, 2012 by MassDevice staff

The medical device industry used its annual confab in Boston to express optimism that the votes are there in the U.S. Senate for a repeal of the medical device tax.

MassDevice.com coverage of medical device tax

Leaders of the medical device industry expressed confidence last week that the votes are there in the U.S. Senate for a full repeal of the medical device tax, slated to go into effect in January 2013.

"At the moment, I'm still betting that the tax will be repealed," B.Braun Medical CEO Caroll Neubauer told audience members at the AdvaMed 2012 conference in Boston. "We have a bill in the U.S. Senate, which if it gets to the floor would pass. It would get 53 or 54 votes from outspoken senators, including Democrats, who are going to vote for it.

"It's the Senate majority leader [Harry Reid (D-Nev.)] and the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee [Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.)] who are not letting it get to the floor," he added.

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Neubauer's confidence was echoed by other leading voices of the medtech industry in Boston, including AdvaMed CEO Stephen Ubl, who told reporters that the industry has seen "considerable Senate support for the repeal, and it seems to be growing," Ubl said.

While those comments could be construed as the industry putting on a brave face, there is little doubt that the issue continues to gain traction in the press.

A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal penned by former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), calling for a repeal of the tax, was considered by many as a good sign that there is bipartisan support for the repeal.

The former Indiana governor, who's now doing some lawyering for medical device companies for the Washington, D.C., firm McGuire Woods, urged his former Senate colleagues to repeal the medical device tax.

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