A government shutdown isn’t good for business: It hurts confidence and dings the bottom line. But one industry spent the weekend trying to paint a silver lining on a dark cloud: Medical device makers want the engine of a spending compromise to be a gift to their shareholderes.
But medical device lobbyists are eager to point out that unless House Republican leadership blinks first and allows a clean spending bill to pass with Democratic votes, they’ll want something in a final deal to point to as a win for their side, specifically something related to the health care law.
The medical device industry and its $29 million-a-year lobbying coalition AdvaMed hope that a bipartisan push to repeal the device tax can be the pivot point for a compromise. Repeal of the tax has the backing of liberal lawmakers in Massachusetts and Minnesota, where device companies like Boston Scientific and Medtronic are headquartered. And, like any tax cut, it has the backing of conservatives: Seventy-nine Republican lawmakers signed a letter advocating a repeal of the tax earlier this year that was secretly authored by AdvaMed.
Today’s chasm may be too wide, but just as corporate tax giveaways helped lead to a fiscal cliff compromise, Washington often finds private interests easing the way to compromise.