The new Trump administration and Republican Congress – and all the accompanying change and uncertainty – is the major story for the medical device industry.
But there are many other medtech stories worth noting from the first quarter of 2017. There was an FDA warning over Abbott’s Absorb bioresorbable stent, a continued spate of M&A deals, a slew of cardiology research breakthroughs including a customizable robotic heart out of Harvard, and much more.
Here are the top medical device stories of early 2017.
Image Credit: White House
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday withdrew the much-maligned bill to replace the Affordable Care Act from the floor Friday as Republican dissent swelled.
The move came just minutes before the U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote on the American Health Care Act. GOP leadership in the House frantically tried to muster the votes to save the bill during floor discussion despite a growing number of defections from moderates and ultra-conservatives.
“This is a disappointing day for us. Doing big things is hard,” Ryan said during a news conference Friday afternoon. “All of us, myself included, will need time to reflect on how we got to this moment, what we could have done to make it better.”
Ryan visited President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday before returning to the House floor for debate on the bill, telling the president they did not have the 216 votes necessary to pass the legislation. Trump issued an ultimatum on Thursday, telling the GOP they needed to pass the AHCA or Obamacare would live on.
Image Credit: Modern Healthcare
Republican legislation that looks to dismantle and replace Obamacare is facing serious opposition from many angles, including from hardline conservatives and the American Medical Association.
Republican U.S. House of Representatives leaders yesterday released their new legislation which looks to eliminate Obama’s Affordable Care Act, including the medical device tax.
The plan would also eliminate more than $500 billion in federal revenue, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. The committee estimated that a delay of the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans, set to go into effect in 2020 and delayed to 2025, would cost an estimated $48.7 billion in tax revenue.
A repeal of the 2.3% medical device tax would cost $19.6 billion over 10 years, the committee said. In addition, repealing the tax on brand pharmaceutical companies would cost $24.8 billion, repealing the health-insurance tax would cost an additional $144.7 billion. Repeal of the 10% indoor tanning service would cost $600 million.
Image Credit: MassDevice
Under pressure from conservatives and the business community, House Republicans have released a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that ditches their previous proposal to tax high-value employer health plans.
The 123-page bill, dubbed the American Health Care Act, was released Monday night. It would replace the ACA’s income-based premium tax credits with fixed, age-based tax credits that generally would be smaller. It would end enhanced federal funding for states to expand Medicaid to low-income adults. And it would convert Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement to a program of capped, per-capita payments to the states.
Image Credit: Modern Healthcare
A plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act floated by Republicans yesterday – which critics have already dubbed “Trumpcare” or “Obamacare Lite” – would permanently repeal the medical device tax effective Jan. 1, 2018.
A hold on the 2.3% tax on U.S. medical device sales went into effect at the beginning of 2016 and is slated to expire by the end of this year. The legislative plan released last night by GOP members of the U.S. House of Representatives would kill the tax for good effective Jan. 1, 2018.
The House GOP plan would also immediately remove the penalty for people who do not have health insurance and halt the expansion of Medicaid at the beginning of 2020, capping funding for the federal healthcare program for the poor. It would preserve a pair of popular Obamacare features: Allowing children to remain on family health plans until age 26 and barring insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Image Credit: MassDevice
Devicemakers have long complained that their business has been negatively affected by an excise tax placed on their devices by the Affordable Care Act. A think tank has now crunched the numbers on how the tax affected U.S. jobs.
The 2.3% tax on medical device sales resulted in the loss of over 28,000 jobs among devicemakers and and related industries when it was in effect between 2013 and 2015, according to the American Action Forum, which describes itself as a “center-right policy institute.” Health economist Robert Book based his post on U.S. Census Data and tax data from the federal government.
The tax, which is collected as a direct percentage of manufacturer sales, was suspended by Congress for 2016 and 2017. If Congress allows it to resume in 2018, AAF projects that an additional 25,000 additional jobs could be lost by 2021. AAF’s prediction is based on past job losses and lower-than-anticipated tax revenue, which would suggest a reduction in device sales.
The Senate confirmed Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to head the Health & Humans Services Dept. in a 52-47 vote early this morning. No Democratic senator voted to support the new administration’s nominee, but he was passed through in the Republican-majority Senate.
Democrats spent hours last night protesting his confirmation, pushing the vote until 2 A.M. Senators pushed back against his stance on the Affordable Care Act and Medicare, as well as his involvement with healthcare stocks.
Image Credit: Wall Street Journal