4 top medtech stories you need to know in late 2017

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1. ACA repeal and replace turns into a donnybrook

Washington uncertainty

[Image courtesy of Jon Tyson on Unsplash]

Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act was a top priority for President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress. But as Trump famously (or infamously) said last February as the debate heated up, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

The American Health Care Act was pulled from a House vote in March because conservative and moderate Republicans couldn’t agree on its details at the same time the public was growing dissatisfied over Congressional Budget Office reports that millions could lose their health insurance. Then a modified version squeaked by in a 217-213 House vote in May, but the bill didn’t appear to have enough votes in the Senate. Instead, a “skinny repeal” went down to defeat in a 49-51 Senate vote in July. With an end-of-September deadline looming, Republicans made a last push in September with the Graham-Cassidy bill, but the bill was pulled Sept. 26.

As Congress moves on from the failed Obamacare repeal and replace effort to tough negotiations over passing a budget and tax reform, it’s up in the air whether the medical device industry will achieve one of its top lobbying goals: permanent repeal of the 2.3% medical device excise tax that was part of Obamacare. AdvaMed CEO Scott Whitaker insisted this week that he remains optimistic.

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