The HSCA, as well as other groups representing the interests of hospitals, began expressing concern in 2011 that the tax would be passed through to providers.
Six groups, including the HSCA and American Hospital Association, asked the Internal Revenue Service during the rulemaking period to prohibit companies from passing through the cost of the tax by requiring them to certify on their tax returns that their products' prices didn't include the tax.“The issue of passing the tax on to hospitals?” said Blair Childs, senior vice president of public affairs for Premier. “That should not happen. Period.”
The AHA was not available for comment.
Stradis Healthcare, a Lawrenceville, Ga.-based manufacturer of custom surgical procedure packs, said it is awaiting final guidance from the IRS to clarify whether the tax applies to its products, which include custom kits.
The company “literally could not afford to pay that tax” and would likely have to lay off several of its 52 full-time staffers, Stradis Healthcare President Bret Buhler said.
Others companies have reversed plans to add the tax to the costs of its products. Both Dynasthetics, a Salt Lake City-based provider of anesthesia devices, and Gambro, a Swedish medical technology company that is set to be acquired by Baxter International, initially told providers that the tax would be added to the costs of its products.
“Based on market feedback, we made the decision to no longer charge customers for the [medical-device excise tax] on their invoices,” said Anne Bonelli, a Gambro spokeswoman.
While the policy was officially changed Feb. 1, the company also decided to offer a credit to providers that paid the tax in January.
“We have decided not to pass that on to our customers,” said Steve Blackwell, Dynasthestics' vice president of sales. He declined to say why the company changed its policy.
Earlier this month, Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) reintroduced a bill to repeal the tax. In an interview then, Paulsen said the legislation now has bipartisan support and support for repeal is growing.