After constantly reading headlines on the presidential race being “tied”, President Barack Obama nudges past Mitt Romney to claim re-election. You have to admit that even after months of being saturated with political ad campaigns, analysis and the debates, you’ll miss these days before the election. From the Clint Eastwood speech to Sesame Street’s Big Bird, it has been a roller coaster of events!
This election had so much at stake, including the future of health care, as we know it. The United States has the highest per capita medical expenditures of any country in the world. President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney were worlds apart on how they would fix America’s healthcare crisis. President Obama’s health care proposal relies heavily on cutting reimbursements to Medicare providers, whether it is the amount hospitals might get for a heart bypass to how much an imaging center is reimbursed for an MRI. President Obama’s re-election guarantees the continued implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010, also known as “Obamacare.” Under the Obama administration we can expect the expansion of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs); the increased use of comparative effectiveness research (CER), plus the implementation of the new insurance exchanges, scheduled to be up and running in 2014.
Romney has said that the Affordable Care Act, despite its name, will lead to higher-cost health insurance and will force millions of people to change their insurance plans whether they want to or not. President Obama said that health care reform addressed a real problem for Americans who worried about going bankrupt if they got sick or couldn’t get coverage due to pre-existing conditions. The president insisted that people can keep their own private insurance plans, but the new law means insurers “can’t jerk you around.”
The ACA & Medical Imaging Equipment Industry
One thing we do know is that Section 1405 of the ACA (effective in 2013), requires medical equipment producers, manufacturers, and importers to charge and collect a 2.3% sales tax for medical devices. By “medical devices”, the Internal Revenue Code refers to virtually any device concerning medical diagnosis. Despite this addition to the ACA, it will not apply to medical equipment sales in the secondary market. Those buying new medical equipment may want to save those extra dollars, and consider used or refurbished imaging equipment instead.
Although the public will continue to analyze whether the ACA is positive or negative for the country as a whole, and how these decisions impact the relationship between citizen and state, “Obamacare” is still the law of the land, and will have an effect on us all.
After an unpredictable presidential race like this one, I certainly look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments about the next four years.