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 Association Decries New Tariff Proposal on Health Care Products

The nation’s largest association representing skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities, and homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is denouncing a proposal from the Trump administration that would impose tariffs on Chinese-supplied critical health care products used in nursing facilities.

The American Health Care Association (AHCA) is concerned that the proposed scope of List 4 under Section 301: China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation includes critical health care products used daily in nursing facilities, including wet wipes, drapes, underpads, and exam and surgeon gloves.

Mark Parkinson, AHCA president and chief executive officer, issued the following statement on the proposal:
“The administration’s proposal to impose tariffs on critical health care products such as gloves and drapes will have a dramatic impact on the long term care profession. These products serve a vital role in providing safe, efficient care to our residents and are subject to strict FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] requirements and regulations—including a two-year review period.”
AHCA also submitted a letter to The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative requesting the exclusion of certain critical health care products from any tariffs imposed under Section 301.
“Because these products serve a vital role in providing safe and effective health care to our patients, they are subject to FDA requirements and regulations,” the letter said. “FDA regulations treat these products as medical devices that require strict FDA regulatory approval prior to any manufacturing and sale.”
A part of the FDA regulatory approval is a two-year period to qualify a new supplier for the products.
AHCA says that while these products are relatively inexpensive compared with other health care costs, they are used in large volumes and will result in a significant cost increase. Previously, the products were removed from the tariff inclusion list (List 3) due to being strictly regulated by the FDA the same as medical devices. AHCA says an imposition of tariffs on the products will result in a substantial increase in patient costs and translate to higher health care costs for the broader U.S. economy.
“Because these products were initially included in the proposed scope of List 3 but not included in the final scope of List 3, AHCA hopes that the administration has recognized the significant negative consequences that additional tariffs on these products would have on health care costs,” the letter said.
“Most long term care facilities do not have the ability to readily switch from their current FDA-approved products to alternative, non-Chinese suppliers,” Parkinson said in his statement. “They work every day to deliver the highest quality care for millions of seniors and disabled individuals, and imposing tariffs on these vital products threatens to derail these noble efforts.”
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