If you were to look up the term “medical innovation” in the dictionary you might find yourself looking forever because there’s no such term listed. That said, many of us in the healthcare world often refer to the term to describe the latest and greatest medical devices, health IT software, research results, technology, and prescription medications amongst other things. In many cases, medical innovation leads to earlier diagnosis, faster recovery time, and less invasive surgery – all of which, mind you, improves our health and lengthens our lives.
So taking these aforementioned ideas into context, it makes one wonder why would anyone want to stifle medical innovation and stop companies from making life-saving devices? Sadly, that’s exactly what’s happening in our Nation’s capital.
According to a Fox Business article out last week, “starting January 1, 2013, medical-device makers must pay a new 2.3 percent excise tax on sales, regardless if they make a profit, to raise $30 billion over the next decade to pay for health reform” (otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act). And, it’s no secret that “technology companies are announcing job cuts, reductions in R&D budgets and are canceling plans to build plants to pay for the tax.” In fact, AdvaMed is predicting that 43,000 jobs will be lost due to the tax.
It’s for these very reasons that over 800 companies (organized neurosurgery included) are urging congress to repeal the medical device tax. Simply put, this tax is doing the exact opposite of what our healthcare system needs by simultaneously reducing access to new technologies, increasing healthcare costs for patients, and eliminating jobs.