Groups representing doctors, nurses, hospitals, and consumers have all lined up against the Republican bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, arguing that the proposed changes being debated in Congress would eliminate health care coverage and benefits for millions of Americans.
But one group conspicuously absent from the ranks of the opposition has been the organization representing medical device makers, a large sector in Massachusetts, which last week came out in support of the GOP alternative, the American Health Care Act.
The Advanced Medical Technology Association, or AdvaMed, endorsed the legislation, solely because of a provision to repeal a medical device tax that the industry has been fighting for years. AdvaMed was among the business groups whose support was cited by Sean Spicer, President Trump’s press secretary, in a briefing with reporters last week.
J.C. Scott, AdvaMed’s chief advocacy officer, made it clear in an interview that the national trade and lobbying organization is seizing on the Republican bill as a way to eliminate the excise tax — which amounts to a 2.3 percent levy on annual device sales. The assessment was initially imposed to help fund President Obama’s ACA, which extended coverage to millions of people who had been without health insurance. The tax took effect on Jan. 1, 2013, but was suspended for two years at the end of 2015. It is set to be reinstated next January unless a repeal is enacted.
“Our engagement on the broader [GOP] bill is connected to and contingent on repeal of the device tax,” Scott said. “We’re laser-focused on that piece of it.”