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It's likely that, before this year, you never gave much thought to taxes on medical devices.
These days, the subject is hard to avoid.
It's an idea that has broad support from members of both parties in
The biggest problem is that repealing the tax would lead to a
"The last thing this fragile economy needs is a tax that destroys good jobs and puts roadblocks in front of innovation," Pitts said.
The 2.3 percent tax, which the government began collecting in January, covers device makers that sell products to hospitals. Hospitals then bill insurers and others for procedures in which such devices are used.
Consumer devices such as wheelchairs, eyeglasses or hearing aids aren't affected by the tax.
Precision Medical Products in
The manufacturer produces a wide range of products for medical, surgical, dental and pharmaceutical needs to clients including
Before the tax was enacted, there was concern that the tax imposed on corporations that sell the devices to providers would trickle down to smaller companies like Precision that rely on those businesses for orders.
Fisher is vice president of health-care policy and strategy for
"The impacts of the tax are broad. It impacts patient access to care, it affects jobs and it hurts our ability to invest in new ideas," he said.
Fisher said most consumers aren't even aware of the tax - but they might be in the future because companies are starting to cut back on product development, he said.
As a result, he said, new technologies aren't going to reach the market at the same pace they would otherwise.
Jobs also are being cut. Fisher said
"We're in the business of trying to help patients, and not being able to do it the way that we want because of external factors like this really is frustrating," he said.
Beversluis said the tax is definitely annoying, but he's not sure it will be as disastrous as some suggest.
"I don't think the industry is in that much trouble because, over the next 20 years, it will continue to grow as the baby boomers retire," he said.
The demand for the products, he said, is likely to keep the medical device market on track despite the tax.
Fisher agrees that the demographics support Beversluis' argument but said there are other factors that threaten the industry.
He said there are many efforts to modify the way the federal government and private insurance companies pay for health care that could slow growth.
"There is a strong push to reduce the number of procedures, to reduce unnecessary care, to try to coordinate care more effectively - all those things will have an opposite impact on health care spending," he said.
In efforts to repeal the tax, device makers have unleashed a torrent of lobbying dollars and stepped up political contributions to lawmakers.
Casey said the bill was "a common-sense measure to improve current law and ensure we are doing everything we can to encourage innovation and job creation."
"The medical device tax will cost
That bill and others since have been unable to gain momentum because President