Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief now that the fiscal cliff has been averted.
But if some hearts had been fluttering at the thought that the fiscal cliff deal would include the repeal of the medical device tax — as some Republicans had boldly proclaimed — those hopes were pretty much dashed. The last minute bitter pill engineered by the Senate and swallowed by the House Republicans ignored the issue completely.
The odds of the repeal of the 2.3 percent device tax were long to begin with, even though opponents of the tax at various times have proclaimed strength in bipartisan support to see the law withdrawn. Democratic senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken in Minnesota, for instance, favor repeal but have previously disagreed over how to make up for the $30 billion in lost revenue from killing that portion of the healthcare reform law.
Even as the issue appears to be dying a slow death, on Tuesday, Washington-based medical device lobbying group AdvaMed issued this statement:
“The effort to repeal the medical device tax will continue. The passage of a scaled-back fiscal cliff package that did not address the medical device tax does not diminish the need to repeal the tax. It also does not diminish the bipartisan support for the repeal effort, which is premised on the recognition that the tax is costing jobs and threatening patient care. We urge Congress to repeal the device tax as it returns to address the other pressing tax and budget issues facing the country, so that we can avoid going over the medical technology innovation cliff.”
It is doubtful that the fear of going over a less-defined medtech innovation cliff will have the same urgency and call to action as the recent fiscal cliff has engendered in lawmakers.
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