Wednesday, November 21, 2012
ANOTHER BAD IDEA FROM THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION
Every day, America’s medical technology community gets up and goes to work, focused on improving the lives of patients throughout the world. Whether manufacturing pacemakers, CT scanners or catheters, our passion for innovation and ingenuity is why this proud American industry continues to lead the world in these challenging times.Unfortunately, in fewer than 60 days, a new medical device tax will hit this innovative industry, and it threatens patient care and U.S. jobs. This onerous policy — which is expected to cost more than $30 billion — is already having a real-world, everyday impact on our health care system and our economy. Even though it doesn’t take effect until Jan. 1, medical technology companies are already announcing job cuts and canceling plans to build plants to pay for the tax. Others are trimming budgets in important areas like research and development. Put simply, this is a tax on innovation, and it is going to hurt American workers and patients most. Congress can and should repeal it immediately. Medical innovation is key to providing cutting-edge, lifesaving technologies to patients. Between 1980 and 2000, new diagnostic and treatment tools helped increase life expectancy by more than three years. But the new tax will take money from our research and development pipelines, reducing our ability to discover and develop lifesaving medical devices such as heart valves, molecular diagnostic tests and MRI machines. The effect this will have on patients is real. Today, a patient can walk into an emergency room with chest pain, receive a noninvasive CT angiography that discovers heart blockage and receive a stent in two hours. Compared with yesteryear’s technology, this example of an advanced diagnostic and treatment protocol demonstrates profound clinical- and cost-effectiveness, saving lives and doing so more quickly and efficiently. If the device tax goes into effect, the march of medical innovation will be inhibited and patient access to the next generation of medical technology won’t be realized. Many of the novel, cutting-edge medical technology innovations come from small companies with very few employees. Unfortunately, the medical device tax will hit these small companies and startups hardest, because it will be applied on sales, regardless of whether a company is making any profit. Small businesses often suffer losses in the early years of operation when they are investing in research and development on new products. Paying a sizable new tax while incurring traditional startup-driven losses will be more than many small businesses can bear.