President Barack Obama took a hard stand against efforts to repeal or delay the 2.3% medical device tax taking effect in January.
The tax was created through the Affordable Care Act and is designed to raise around $30 billion over 10 years to help support various facets of healthcare reform.
Industry groups maintain that the tax, which will take a cut from every applicable medical device sold in the U.S., hurts innovation and jobs, but President Obama didn’t appear sympathetic to those concerns.
"The healthcare bill is going to provide those medical device companies 30 million new customers," the President told a reporter for The Weekly Standard. "It’s going to be great for business, and they’re doing really well right now."
The expectation that the healthcare reform bill will bring more potential customers to the medtech industry is one that has long been countered by device makers and industry advocates.
Industry groups argue that the population of newly insured patients created by the ACA isn’t one that regularly needs their products. Many medical devices, such as pacemakers and stents, are most frequently needed by patients that are already covered by Medicare.
"Only in Washington could paying a $30 billion tax over the next 10 years be viewed as a windfall opportunity, but that’s exactly the false claim being made," MITA executive director Gail Rodriguez said in a statement issued in May. "MITA continues to oppose the device tax precisely because we believe it creates strong headwinds against an important sector of the U.S. economy."
Medical device industry lobbying groups have launched a coordinated effort to generate support for repeal of the medical device tax. Earlier this month a group of Democratic and Independent Senators signed their names to a letter calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to ask for a delay to the levy.