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Will President Trump Make Medtech Great Again?

Here's what the incoming administration of Donald J. Trump could have in store for the medical technology industry.

Qmed Staff


Ballots have been cast and counted, victory and concession speeches have been made, and Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as president of the United States on January 20, 2017. What might the incoming Trump administration have in store for medtech?

Here are a few predictions rounded up by Marie Thibault, managing editor of Qmed sister site MD+DI:

Obamacare Could Be Toast

Repealing the Affordable Care Act was a main plank in the Trump platform, and backed by a Republican-controlled House and Senate, the president-elect may be able to make good on that promise, some say. Republican legislator, including Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) have vowed to tackle current President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform law in the early days of the new administration.

But at least one analyst says the fight to repeal Obamacare won't be easy or swift. Larry Biegelsen, senior analyst at Wells Fargo, wrote in a research note following the election that taking health insurance away from the more than 20 million people who gained coverage under the ACA will be "difficult politically," noting that not even all congressional Republicans are in agreement about what should be done to replace it.

"The process of putting together this legislation will require substantial coordination among House and Senate Republicans and the incoming Trump Administration," he wrote. "Thus, meaningful action on these issues may be delayed to the second quarter of 2017."

What might ACA repeal mean for medtech? Potentially lower procedure volumes if people lose their health insurance.

The Device Tax Could Be Dead

Although Trump himself hasn't come out with a specific stance on the 2.3% tax on medical device sales that was included in the ACA but suspended for two years in December 2015, one of his supporters told an audience at the recent AdvaMed 2016 conference in Minneapolis that the tax would likely be permanently repealed under a Trump presidency.

Device tax repeal already has bipartisan support in Congress, but Biegelsen wrote that doesn't mean the industry will be rid of it right away.

"Full repeal of the device tax may have to wait until the larger issues around the ACA, the tax code and infrastructure spending can be negotiated."

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HHS, FDA, and CMS Changes Are Anybody's Guess

Trump will likely clean house at the top of federal agencies, but who he might install in leadership positions at HHS, CMS, and FDA remains uncertain. If he follows in the footsteps of past Republican presidents, it could be a boon for the medtech industry, Biegelsen wrote. Then again, Trump often bucked traditional Republican ideals during his candidacy and could do the same as president.

". . . [i]t is possible, but not certain, that Trump would install leaders at HHS, CMS, and FDA who could attempt to take policy at these agencies in unpredictable directions," Biegelsen wrote.

What Do You Think?

Will President Trump make the medical device industry great again? Does his election pose potential problems for medtech? What industry priorities would you like to see addressed during the Trump administration? Share your thoughts in the poll below.

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