Monday, October 5, 2009

AdvaMed: Another Lame Duck Organization

The WSJ reported that in an 11th hour scramble, the "Almighty AdvaMed" has petitioned Max Baucus, aka: "I've never seen an insurance company that I didn't like," to reduce the Medical Device Tax that was proposed over the next ten years to help fund the new healthcare program. AdvaMed requested that the tax be lowered from $40 billion to $15 billion. Supposedly, the Senate Finance Committee felt that the offer was too low. AdvaMed has already come out in defense of itself, stating that the counter offer was just a rumor.

As Medical Device Companies coalesce, the industry's rationale for not wanting to be a contributing party to a better healthcare plan is based on the tax cutting into their research and development. Some analyst have observed that unlike the pharmaceutical and hospital industries that came to the table this summer, as active participants in helping restructure some type of improved healthcare plan, the Medical Device Industry has not offered a viable concession.

Please take the time to read the article posted in "Orthopedics This Week" on September 18th, 2009, Robin Young makes a compelling argument on how this tax would benefit our industry. Unfortunately, our industry is led by the nose by an organization that has never lived up to its billing. Not only are these lobbyist late to the table, they do a poor job of negotiating on the industry's behalf.

How can anyone expect a lame duck organization to negotiate effectively when they don't have the legal power to enforce a Code of Ethics? Regardless, our industry is going to have to make some concessions. If not, we will be viewed as greedy, and we will be vilified. During the last ten years new devices have increased the cost of healthcare in this country. This is not a bad thing, considering how many patients have benefited from it. Yet, it always comes down to money. No one is willing to sacrifice at a time that the patient (healthcare) is on life support. Everyone complains how this will affect their ability to continue developing better products. Let's face it, there are many companies that haven't developed anything innovative in years.

The Spine Blogger's mantra is; "if you want to play, you have to pay!" Let's see what happens over the next week. This will determine how influential AdvaMed really is, or, are they really a lame duck organization. The Spine Blogger wants to know what its readers think?

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