Medical Device Tax Win Underscores the Value of Advocacy
HIDA Government Affairs Update
By Linda Rouse O'Neill
Vice President, Government Affairs, HIDA
Earlier this year, distributors and manufacturers scored a major victory when Congress reinstated the moratorium on the medical device tax for two years as part of the deal to fund the government. These organizations were able to effectively communicate to lawmakers how they would be affected if the tax was allowed to take effect and were ultimately successful in getting it delayed. This is one example of the power of advocacy and, more specifically, grassroots advocacy. Members of Congress pay attention to letters and calls they get from their constituents back home, and in one week, HIDA members generated over 100 letters to Congress about the medical device tax.
Meeting members of Congress and their staff in person is also very effective, and there is no better opportunity to do so than during the HIDA Washington Summit. Summit attendees have the opportunity to educate government policy decision makers on key topics such as the value of diagnostics, competitive bidding, progress on traceability and unique device identification implementation, and the impact of marketplace proposals for government procurement on the healthcare supply chain. Of particular note this year is emergency preparedness, which is discussed in more detail below.
2018 is a vital year for pandemic and emergency preparedness. As we discussed in last month’s column, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) is up for its third reauthorization this fall. The legislation shapes the way public health agencies respond to disease outbreaks and natural disasters. In partnership with the Healthcare Products Coalition, HIDA has developed a set of principles that will strengthen government agencies’ ability to draw on distributors’ and manufacturers’ expertise.
During the Washington Summit, HIDA members will meet with the legislative and federal agency leaders who are working on the PAHPA reauthorization. Participants will seek to educate government leaders on how this law impacts the industry’s ability to respond to demand spikes for necessary products like personal protective equipment, diagnostic tests, and devices used to administer vital therapies.
Even if you can’t come to Washington, you can still advocate for our industry. Make sure your representatives know how PAHPA affects your business, and that distributors have deep knowledge that can strengthen federal responses during a crisis. Options for educating your representatives include:
- Writing letters.
- Participating in local advocacy events.
- Hosting representatives at your facility.
These steps are simple and effective ways to help lawmakers understand your business and learn what federal agencies can from your perspective.
These are just some of the issues that HIDA members will discuss at the 2018 Washington Summit, June 7-8. This is a key opportunity to put a human face on the healthcare distribution industry, and to inform policymakers about the industry and the healthcare customers and patients we serve.
Whether you are able to attend the Washington Summit or not, educating your elected leaders on the value of distribution and the healthcare supply chain is important to our work in Washington on behalf of the industry. If you would like to learn more or get involved in HIDA Advocacy, please email us at HIDAGovAffairs@HIDA.org.