The Tax Cut That Could End the Shutdown
away from Obamacare, but one possible ACA-related compromise continues to get play in the media: the repeal of the medical device tax. It’s a part of the law we haven’t written about much here at Via Meadia, because it’s not something the ACA stands or falls on. But in light of its importance to the ongoing negotiations, here’s a quick run down of that tax and the fight against it.The medical device tax is a 2.3 percent fee on heavy medical equipment like pacemakers (not smaller items like hearing aids) that’s expected to rake in $29 billion dollars in the next decade. The medical device industry opposed it because (they claim) it would destroy jobs by burdening employers with new expenses. The White House was very clearly against repealing the tax despite the fact that several Democrats opposed it from the beginning (Massachusetts and Minnesota, both Democratic states, are homes for a lot of medical device companies).As the shutdown dragged on, a repeal emerged as both something that the GOP could claim as a victory as well as something that the Democrats could live with. And although the debt limit conversation is now shifting away from Obamacare toward other deals, the industry is still pushing hard for repeal. Its latest strategy has been to enlist the help of the dentist’s lobby to put more pressure on Congress.The tax’s fate now largely depends on how much the GOP believes a repeal could help them claim victory in the shutdown fight, and whether Obamacare deals are still on the table. Either way, don’t expect a repeal to change Obamacare’s basic effects on the US, for good or ill.