Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and all but 1 of Indiana’s delegation in the U.S. House sent a letter to Eric Shinseki, secretary of the U.S. Veterans Affairs Dept., asking for some color on how the medical device tax will hit the VA.
Walorski, joined by the other 6 Republican representatives from the Hoosier State and Democrat André Carson (only Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) failed to sign on), asked Shinseki to quantify the impact of the 2.3% levy on medical device revenues on the VA in fiscal 2014 and FY2015.
"We write to express our concern regarding the recent implementation of the medical device excise tax, and the implications it will have for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs," according to the May 1 letter. "Can you please provide us with a projection on how this tax will impact the amount of money VA spends on medical devices in FY14 and FY15? How does the VA plan to absorb these additional costs?"
Walorski, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and her colleagues also asked Shinseki whether the veterans’ bureau has a contingency plan "to address the quality and accessibility of medical devices should costs continue to rise?"
"What specific steps will you take to ensure no veteran will go without or have to sacrifice quality as a result of increased medical device costs?" they wrote. "We respectfully ask you to respond to our questions within 30 days of receiving this letter."
Enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, the medical device tax imposes a 2.3% excise tax on sales of prescribed medical devices in the U.S. The medtech tax has faced stiff and vociferous opposition from the medical device industry since it was first proposed in 2009 as the provisions of what would become Obamacare were hashed out in Washington.