Wall Street Journal reacts to op-ed piece on MassDevice.com from Elizabeth Warren, in which the liberal Democrat comes out in favor of a repeal of the medical device tax.

April 23, 2012

2 Min Read
What Would Warren Do? Repeal the Device Tax

I haven't seen this many double takes since Pat Robertson came out in favor of legalising marijuana. When Massachusetts Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren came out in favor of a repeal—yes, she used the r word—of the medical device tax in an editorial on MassDevice.com, the reaction was swift and perplexed.

In what the Wall Street Journal called an "op-ed piece for the ages," Warren writes:

"When Congress taxes the sale of a specific product through an excise tax, as the Affordable Care Act does with medical devices, it too often disproportionately impacts the small companies with the narrowest financial margins and the broadest innovative potential. It also pushes companies of all sizes to cut back on research and development for life-saving products."

Clearly, this is not the sort of observation that some would expect from a progressive Democrat, especially someone who was a key architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Or, as the Wall Street Journal snarkily put it: "So Ms. Warren is conceding that when the government taxes something we get less of it, though you'd have to be a Harvard faculty member to believe otherwise."

But, as the Healthwatch blog points out, "Warren is not the first Democrat — or even the first liberal Democrat — from a device-industry state to criticize the tax. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) fought the proposal during the healthcare debate. But he voted against Brown’s proposal to repeal the policy in 2010. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has also been critical of the tax."

And so, many in the twitterverse are asking if opposition to the device tax is gaining steam. No question about it,  AdvaMed just tweeted. What do you think?

Norbert Sparrow

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