Is Repealing Medical Device Excise Tax a Good Idea?
When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010 few people knew of a provision that levies a substantial excise tax on all U.S. produced medical devices starting in 2013. The tax applies to everything from testing equipment to prosthetics to bandages. In essence, any equipment and supplies used to treat patients directly or indirectly will be subject to the tax.
Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the totality of the Affordable Care Act the GOP-led House is determined to repeal the excise tax if they can. Their argument is one of saving medical device manufacturers money that can be devoted to hiring new workers and furthering research and development. Their view is shared by the medical device industry as a whole. On the other hand, proponents of the tax say the Affordable Care Act more than makes up for the tax by providing the industry with a large group of new customers.
The Question of Jobs
All politics aside, the argument for most Americans really comes down to how the excise tax will affect jobs. For every medical job that’s created, money is contributed to the national economy and a working individual is no longer dependent on government assistance. For every medical job that could have been created but isn’t, there is an individual out of work and needing the help of taxpayers to survive.
Truth be known, while jobs in the healthcare industry continue to increase by double digits every quarter, those increases are not necessarily being felt within the medical device industry. Even though medical device manufacturing is related to healthcare in the sense that hospitals and other facilities are their customers, it’s still is manufacturing. And as time goes by manufacturing has not kept pace with healthcare delivery. It would seem that anything we can do to keep the manufacturing base strong will be helpful for job growth in medical device manufacturing.
Other Healthcare Related Sectors
If the argument for repealing the medical device tax is correct it stands to reason that it could be applied to other healthcare related sectors. For example, healthcare informatics is part of the healthcare industry in that it combines IT and computer science to help better manage healthcare facilities and the delivery of their services. But it is somewhat separate in the sense that the skills required for an informatics career are based on information technology and computers rather than medical knowledge.
For every medical job created in the informatics sector, a hospital or other health care facility reaps the benefits through more efficient administration and management. For every informatics medical job lost, a healthcare facility is getting less than maximum benefit from its computer systems. So we should be doing what we can to encourage job growth in this sector as well.
As a matter of fact, with the unemployment rate edging up towards 9% again we need to do what we can to encourage every job sector, healthcare included
Jane, from comphealth.com.