House move to delay Obamacare, repeal medical device tax have implications for dentists

September 29, 2013
Steve Diogo
Issue 9

The U.S. House of Representatives late Friday night voted to delay by one year the implementation of the Affordable Care Act-commonly referred to as Obamacare-and repeal the health care law’s medical device tax. Both are measures that would impact dentists as clinicians, employers and purchasers of medical equipment.

The U.S. House of Representatives late Friday night voted to delay by one year the implementation of the Affordable Care Act-commonly referred to as Obamacare-and repeal the health care law’s medical device tax.

Both are measures that would impact dentists as clinicians, employers and purchasers of medical equipment.

And on Sunday, U.S. House Republicans stood firm in the face of a promised White House veto and an uncertain reception for the legislation when it goes to the U.S. Senate on Monday.

“We will do everything we can to protect Americans against the harmful effects of Obamacare,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) was quoted as saying in the Washington Post. “This bill does that. We’re united in the House as Republicans. “Now it’s up to the Senate Democrats to answer.”

House Republicans attached the provisions to the approval of a stopgap spending bill that will effectively keep the government running from Monday-when current funding for the government runs out-until Dec. 15.

The White House has already said it will veto the move, and it is unclear whether the Senate will even consider the legislation.

While Republican end-runs around Obamacare are nothing new, the move to repeal the medical device tax is surprising.

Writing on the Washington Post’s political WonkBlog, Sara Kliff says: “The Obamacare delay, in a way, makes sense: Holding off on the implementing the health-care law would indisputably handicap it. But the medical device tax? The priority has risen to the top of Republicans' agenda despite the fact that repeal would have a relatively minor impact on Obamacare's success.”

The Dental Trade Alliance, which represents the interests of the dental product manufacturing industry, opposed the medical device act, stating that it will result in higher prices to dentists and patients, fewer sales of new devices, cutbacks in research and development and lost jobs.

The DTA is particularly critical of the fact that applies not to company profits but to its total sales.

“This magnifies the impact of the tax because it is calculated on the top line and so has greater impact on the bottom line," the DTA said in a release earlier this year.

The tax also has implications for the dental lab industry. You can read about them here: http://www.dentalproductsreport.com/lab/article/lowdown-medical-device-tax

To learn more about the impact of Obamacare on dentistry, click here.