Medical device tax suspended for two more years

It was back—and now it’s gone again. For two years, at least.

The medical device tax, which went back into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, after being suspended for two years, is now suspended for an additional two years as a part of the deal signed by President Donald Trump on Jan. 22 to end the brief shutdown of the U.S. government.

The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a longtime opponent of the 2.3 percent tax, issued a statement of support for the two-year suspension.

“MITA is pleased with the passage of the two-year suspension of the medical device tax, as it ensures that our companies are able to continue investing in innovative technologies to improve patient care,” Joe Robinson, chairman of the MITA board of directors, said in the statement. “We are encouraged by the bipartisan support in Congress and hope that policymakers will continue their work toward a long-term solution to the tax.”

MITA was not alone in its praise of the suspension. The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) and Cook Medical also issued separate statements.

“We appreciate Congress’ action and the leadership of so many Members who have worked to keep this crucial issue front and center,” Scott Whitaker, president and CEO of AdvaMed, said in the company’s statement. “While the two-year suspension is welcome, it is only an interim step toward the truly needed action by Congress to fully repeal this tax and unleash the promise of medtech innovation. We look forward to continuing to work with the Hill on a bipartisan basis to drive towards permanent relief.”

“We appreciate the acts of Congress to benefit patients and employees,” Steve Ferguson, chairman of Cook Group, said in Cook Medical’s statement. “Since the tax was implemented in 2013, U.S. medical device companies both large and small have faced uncertainty for the future related to innovation for patients.”

The “Cadillac tax,” which taxes businesses offering the most expensive health insurance plans, and another tax applied to all health insurance plans were also delayed temporarily when the U.S. government reopened.