Dr. Kube is one of seven spine surgeons around the country featured in Becker’s Spine Review for the weekly column Ask Spine Surgeons. This week the surgeons weigh in on how the newly-enacted medical device excise tax will impact the field of spinal surgery. The tax took effect Jan. 1 to fund reforms from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Dr. Kube’s response, in part: I believe the device tax is a negative for the industry and for spine surgery in general. We already see implants as a major cost driver for the procedures that we do as spine surgeons. How then does an added expense for one of the major cost drivers help to lower the cost of delivery of medical services? Facilities continue to negotiate for lower costs to maintain their margins. This tax will invariably do what it does in any business situation. Some of that cost will be passed on to the consumers (increased cost for medical service). Some of it will be felt by layoffs or downsizing (lost jobs). The real issue is why there needs to be such a tax in the first place. The government, in my opinion, does not have a revenue problem, but it does have a very clear spending problem. This tax is simply fueling and enabling current bad spending behaviors. Imagine a college party out of control and the answer given is to put more booze in the punch bowl. That’s about the same amount of sense this tax makes.
Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. To read the article in its entirety, click here.