Morning Consult: Democrats Should Lead in Cutting Medical Device Tax


As we witnessed throughout our mayhem in last year’s midterm election cycle, registered voters are demanding to know what lawmakers will do to create jobs and make health care more affordable. Having the ability to point to tangible, significant achievements in improving health care and the economy, two top-of-mind issues for voters could float all Democratic boats as 2020 looms.

By voting to repeal the misguided medical device tax, Democratic members of Congress can help spur American innovation, support thousands of high-paying jobs and hold health care costs down for their constituents — and own the credit for it.

Taxes provide us with necessary funds for social programs, health care, education and other essential spending. And deficit-growing tax cuts, initiated by Republicans, will cause costly consequences for all of us. Still, the tax on medical devices is a tax that blows up health care costs. It’s a tax that should be repealed because its continuance has economic consequences.

The medical device tax imposes a 2.3 percent levy on a broad range of medical devices and products including pacemakers, advanced imaging technology (CT scan, MRI and ultrasound equipment), artificial joints, dental instruments and even surgical gloves. In effect between 2012 and 2015, the tax has been temporarily suspended by an overwhelming bipartisan vote in Congress several times over the years. But as long as this tax looms, it creates economic headwinds and slows research and development that will have painful downstream consequences for patients by hindering innovation and patients’ access to it.

Click here to see the full op-ed by Dr. Julianne Malveaux on the Morning Consult website.