- A tax on medical devices under the Affordable Care Act, which was delayed until 2018 and is little known by the public, has been pulled from obscurity into the thick of the presidential election campaign, Kaiser Health News reported.
- The tax was delayed late last year, along with the ACA's controversial Cadillac Tax, over arguments that it would hinder development and sales of medical technology.
- While the 2.9% tax wouldn't impact consumers directly, as it would be paid by the manufacturer, it is coming into play as one more polarizing point for some against the healthcare law.
While the medical device tax has been largely a behind-the-scenes matter for the public, numerous campaign ads are changing that, KHN reported.
What's at stake is the perception of how the tax would impact patients and the industry, as well as the future of the device tax, which was expected to bring in a projected $29 billion over 10 years to help finance the ACA. The question now is whether it will in fact be implemented in 2018 or whether opponents will manage to repeal it in the meantime.
The push for repeal comes from both general opponents to the ACA as well as advocates from the medical device industry. As a campaign topic, it could be particularly effective in states with a heavy industry presence, and candidates are feeling the pressure on whether to support the tax or support its repeal.
What's interesting in the case of the tax, KHN noted, is that support and opposition for it do not necessarily follow party lines; candidates on both sides of the aisle have positioned themselves as for or against it. Many Democrats who support the ACA nonetheless voted to delay the tax because of the strong industry presence where they serve.
The industry's position appears more clear; KHN noted AdvaMed has given $279,139 in campaign contributions during this election cycle, while Medtronic has given $502,867 and St. Jude Medical has given $357,389.