What're the odds it gets repealed?

Courtesy of Sxc.hu

Well, that depends on whom you ask. As we said before, the device tax repeal effort has broad Republican support, and a bill to strike the charge sailed through the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. In the Democrat-run Senate, however, it's a different story. The Senate's leadership has refused to bring the bill to repeal the tax to the floor for a vote.

But that's not a death sentence. As Cook Medical CEO Steve Ferguson told us last week, the next Senate will feature two newly inaugurated democrats,  Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren and Indiana's Joe Dannelly, both of whom oppose the device tax. Those two will make 15 Senate Dems who have spoken out against the device tax, and Ferguson is optimistic that might be enough to persuade Democratic leadership to bring the bill up for floor debate.

And AdvaMed says it's leading an education campaign for congresspeople, no matter their partisan affiliations. J.C. Scott, AdvaMed's head of government affairs, told FierceMedicalDevices that the tax is less an Affordable Care Act issue than a tax reform issue, and the group wants to make sure elected officials fully comprehend the effect it will have on the med tech industry before they decide one way or the other.

However, lost in all this is the fact that healthcare reform is at least partially dependent on the $29 billion the device tax will raise over 10 years. With President Barack Obama's re-election and a reaffirmation of Senate Democratic control, it's highly unlikely that the Affordable Care Act is going anyplace any time soon.

Some tax opponents have set their sights on smaller changes to the law that could make it a bit more palatable to the industry as a whole. For instance, some propose exempting smaller companies from the tax if they aren't yet profitable. Others are hoping Congress will take up a tax-reform package that includes offsets for the charge, possibly dulling the blow without negating the expected governmental revenue.

For the moment, we'll just have to wait and see.

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What're the odds it gets repealed?