The Trump administration floated the idea of imposing a 20% tax on imports from Mexico to pay for a wall along the southern border aimed at stopping illegal immigration.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the import tax is a proposal that Trump wants to include in a comprehensive tax reform package—something proposed by congressional Republicans to overhaul corporate taxation.
Major healthcare distributors and the Health Industry Distributors Association, the sector's lobbying group, as well as the Advanced Medical Technology Association, which represents medical-device makers, declined to comment on the proposal.
An additional tax on any imported healthcare products could cause pricing issues for cash-strapped hospitals and their group purchasing organizations. The U.S. imports more medical, surgical, dental or veterinarian instruments from Mexico than any other country. Census data show that Mexico exported to the U.S. more than $5.4 billion worth of medical, surgical, dental or veterinarian instruments from January through November 2016, including electro-surgical instruments, needles and syringes, for 27% of all such imports.
Between January and November 2016, the U.S. imported from Mexico $758.1 million in orthopedic appliances, artificial body parts and hearing aids, or 8% of such imports; $153.6 million worth of X-ray equipment and accessories, 4.1% of such imports; and $360.6 million in pharmaceutical products, including drug-coated bandages and some medications, or 0.43% of such imports.