Medical device industry pleased with tax cut in health bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Medical device industry officials said today they’re pleased that a proposed tax on medical devices was reduced in the Senate health care bill, but they’re still chafed that they’d be taxed at all.

The original Senate bill would have raised taxes and fees on medical devices by about $40 billion over 10 years, a fundraising mechanism intended to offset increased costs in other areas of the legislation. After negotiations with Minnesota’s senators, Senate Democratic leadership reduced the amount to $20 billion over 10 years. The medical device industry would see the same tax increase under the House health care bill.

“This tax, though reduced, will invariably impact our investment decisions on new therapy development, jobs and global competitiveness,” said Medtronic CEO Bill Hawkins. “Most importantly, this can serve to diminish patient access to new, live-saving medical technologies.”

Though a legislative consensus on the tax at $20 billion seems to have emerged between House and Senate leaders, Hawkins said the two bills differ on how and when the tax would be assessed, meaning the industry may still be able to shape how and when it’s implemented.

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