Device tax could curtail hip and knee replacements

Hip and knee replacements stand to suffer under the looming medical device industry tax, MarketWatch reports. Demand for the procedures is expected, in theory, to surge in the coming years as the number of retirees in the U.S. grows exponentially. But critics believe the 2.3% surcharge will add hundreds of dollars to the cost of each joint-replacement procedure as device companies seek to pass the extra cost onto consumers, the story notes. That's not great timing in the era of health care reform, where pressure to reduce costs is only getting worse. What's more ominous is that the tax will likely hit sales in those areas as well, according to the article. Meanwhile, manufacturers along the supply chain are still trying to figure out how the tax will affect their business moving ahead. The tax, passed as part of the national health care reform law in 2011, is slated to go into effect beginning in 2013, though industry is lobbying furiously to repeal it.  Story