The Capitol after the U.S. Senate reached a deal to reopen the federal government. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Government shutdowns aren’t typically a productive time, but health-care industry players notched a few big wins out of three days of uncertainty — with the suspension and delay of key health-care taxes.
The popular Children’s Health Insurance Program became the well-publicized football in the political blame game over the shutdown. The continuing resolution provides federal funding for another six years. But the deal to end the shutdown also delivered a win to the health-care industry, to the tune of $31 billion as it suspends or delays three taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act: a tax on medical devices, the “Cadillac tax” on generous employer-sponsored health plans and a tax on health insurance companies.
The medical device tax is a 2.3 percent excise tax that has long been fought by the industry, which has argued that the tax hinders medical innovation and stifles job growth. The tax has been temporarily suspended for the past two years, but that reprieve was set to expire starting Jan. 1. The spending bill provides another two-year moratorium, but the industry is preparing to push for longer delays and a full repeal.
“Congress’ action — just days before medical technology innovators were set to start cutting checks to the IRS — means funds will not be diverted from current investments in jobs, capital improvements and research into new treatments and cures,” Scott Whitaker, president of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Hill on a bipartisan basis to drive towards permanent relief.”
The spending deal also includes …read more