We dream about the day when advancements in medical innovation defeat debilitating and costly diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes. With the bipartisan, common-sense vote this month to suspend the medical device tax, that day may come a little sooner.

This vote wasn’t about the usual wrangling on taxes, party positions or special interests (“Medical device makers are getting their way,” Dec. 18). This vote was primarily about accelerating medical innovation and making available new therapies that improve and extend life. This vote was also about economic growth — specifically our economic growth.

Minnesota is the most concentrated medical device cluster in the world, and as such, state companies were paying more than 25 percent of the federal tax. Annually, hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been invested in research, jobs and expansions locally were funneled to Washington. Now, these resources can stay in Minnesota, helping to fuel our economy and the next medical breakthrough.

This vote wasn’t about corporate profits — in fact, the medical device tax wasn’t applied to profits. The most profoundly impacted were numerous small companies, already millions-deep in investment but years from profitability — perhaps the next 3M or Medtronic. Now, those companies can hire and grow more rapidly, accelerating access to new therapies for patients in need.

What Washington delivered here is true common-sense, bipartisan cooperation. It represents good government. Combined with increases in National Institutes of Health funding for research and making the research-and-development credit permanent, the vote represents a Congress working together to support the growth of research and innovation in hopes that the next wave of life-changing inventions will come from the U.S. Most likely, many will come from Minnesota.

We should salute our federal delegation, including Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and the leadership in the House from Rep. Erik Paulsen. They did what we all ask them to do — work together pragmatically and proudly represent Minnesota.

This vote doesn’t imperil the Affordable Care Act or our conscientious shift to value-based health care. Rather, it ensures that our system will continue to feature new therapies that will save lives and lower the overall costs of health care in this nation. Minnesota’s Medical Alley has always been the nation’s heart of medical innovation. This vote supports future investment in the development of meaningful health interventions that improve the quality of life throughout the world.

 

Shaye Mandle is president and CEO of LifeScience Alley.