WASHINGTON — For the first time in years, the medical device tax will take effect Jan. 1, after Congress left town without delivering on a long-promised delay or repeal. But opponents of the tax, both in industry and on Capitol Hill, aren’t giving up yet: They’re scrambling to find another solution that could offer some relief at the start of the new year.
Already they’ve secured commitments from congressional leaders that they will delay or repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax early in 2018. And now some lobbyists and lawmakers are working with the Treasury Department in hopes that the Trump administration will waive the penalties associated with problematic compliance in the early weeks of the year, before Congress might make good on its effort to address the tax. That will help companies whose accounting and reporting systems might not be ready for the Jan. 1 start date, an industry official said.
Whether or not they secure the change at Treasury, the looming tax is a blow to the medical device industry, which has for years fixated on its repeal, forgoing lobbying on almost any other issue. Medical device groups, for example — unlike nearly every other health care industry group, including hospitals, doctors, and insurers — supported the GOP’s failed attempts to repeal the ACA largely because the measures included a repeal of the excise tax.