Efforts to repeal the medical device tax took a harsh blow last night when incumbent President Barack Obama beat out challenger Mitt Romney to reclaim his seat in the White House.
Some medical device industry stakeholders had hoped that a change in leadership and the subsequent repeal of the President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform measures would bring down the 2.3% medical devices sales tax contained in the Affordable Care Act.
With President Obama at the helm for another 4 years, device makers may need to resort to ‘Plan B’ to repeal the tax, which means talking tax reform rather than healthcare reform. It’s a strategy that appears to be making inroads with legislators on both sides of the aisle, according to medical device industry lobbying group AdvaMed.
"What we’ve seen is an evolution of the issue from being looked at as a healthcare reform law issue to being looked at as a tax and jobs issue," AdvaMed government affairs head Juan Carlos Scott told MassDevice.com today. "The result of that evolution we’ve seen is growing bipartisan support for addressing the tax."
AdvaMed has previously made efforts to re-frame the medical device levy in terms of tax reform. In February the medtech industry lobbying group released a set of principles for modifying the U.S. tax system in efforts to garner Democratic support for striking the tax.
"We believe, candidly, that if we are successful in repositioning the device tax as a jobs and economic growth issue in the context of tax reform, that many more Democrats will view that issue in the same way and join us in the effort to repeal the tax going forward," AdvaMed president & CEO Stephen Ubl said at the time.
In July Ubl testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways & Means Committee, carrying the repeal message forward. He called the device tax "a ball and chain" dragging down medical device makers’ ability to compete in global markets and told committee members that repealing the levy would be an important 1st step toward corporate tax reform.