Shutdown Deal Suspends Device Tax

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Giles says Cook and other medical device companies are currently having trouble making long-term investment plans. Giles says Cook and other medical device companies are currently having trouble making long-term investment plans.
BLOOMINGTON -

The deal to reopen the federal government includes a two-year suspension of the medical device tax, which an executive with Bloomington-based Cook Group Inc. says will be "very, very helpful" for Indiana. Vice President of Federal and International Government Affairs Allison Giles says, while the company will still push for a full repeal, the suspension will allow Cook to "move forward on some projects and re-invest in others." She says the move comes at a crucial time, as the first payments were due January 29.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Giles said the tax has also had a significant impact on smaller and startup medical device companies.

Giles says medical device companies are currently having trouble making long-term investment plans. She says having no certainty on the future of the tax makes it more difficult to look too far into the future.

The tax was a revenue-raising part of the Affordable Care Act. Cook Group Chairman Steve Ferguson has been a vocal critic, previously saying it would force the industry to look overseas for growth industries. He has called the medical device sector one of the most "competitive" and the "most value-added" in the country.

Members of Indiana's Congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle have spoken out against the tax. Last week, when the U.S. House passed a spending bill, Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-2), Jim Banks (R-3), Todd Rokita (R-4), Susan Brooks (R-5) and Larry Bucshon (R-8) issued a statement praising the measure for suspending "the job-killing medical device tax." Democrat Senator Joe Donnelly has also spoken out, calling on Congress to "meaningfully address" the tax.

In November, Governor Eric Holcomb wrote a Perspectives piece saying Congress should act to repeal the tax. "At a time when technical advancement in the life sciences is at an all-time high," wrote Holcomb, "this medical device sales tax threatens to stifle medical advancements, stop new investment and prevent future job growth."

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