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Barack Obama: 10 People Who Changed the Medtech Industry

The 44th president of the United States drove sweeping healthcare reform in the form of the Affordable Care Act.

June 12, 2013

2 Min Read
Barack Obama: 10 People Who Changed the Medtech Industry

It’s fitting that Barack Obama, who won the U.S. presidency in 2008 on a platform of hope and change, is No. 1 on our list of people who changed the medtech industry.



Obama signed the ACA into law in March 2010, promising it would cut costs from the healthcare system and extend health coverage to more than 30 million Americans. In exchange for those potential new customers, the medical device industry was hit with a 2.3% tax levied on the sale price of its products. The medical device tax is expected to raise $30 billion dollars over the next decade.

The industry has argued that the tax, which went into effect this year, curbs innovation and shifts jobs overseas. Companies have blamed the tax for thousands of layoffs, and AdvaMed estimates that as many as 39,000 job losses could result from it

Under Obama’s administration, FDA has also kept a close eye on the medical device industry. “Rules to prevent financial fraud . . . or faulty medical devices don't destroy the free market; they make the free market work better," Obama said in his January 2012 State of the Union address, and his administration has been putting its money where its mouth is in that regard.

After reaching a seven-year low in 2008, FDA QSR compliance inspections have increased substantially, from 1593 in 2009 to 2087 last year, according to Emergo Group. Warning letters and quality system citations have also increased, from 77 in 2009 to 164 in 2012.

But despite the device tax and increased regulatory scrutiny, Obama has shown support for U.S. manufacturing in general. He increased funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program that provides support for small manufacturers, and recently signed an executive order requiring all new data generated and stored by the federal government to be made freely available to the public to fuel entrepreneurship and innovation.

The end result of Obama’s healthcare reform efforts and the measure of his presidency have yet to be determined. Here’s hoping that all the change he has brought about will end up being for the better.

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