- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s most talked-about candidate for president in 2016, couldn’t quite get the horse out of the gate when it came time to answering a question about her plans for an Obamacare tax on medical devices that was asked during a medical device industry conference.

“I don’t know what the right answer about the tax is,” Mrs. Clinton said, after giving the keynote speech at AdvaMed 2014, the annual conference run by the medical device industry, CNN reported.

One of AdvaMed’s top agenda items is to get rid of the tax — a “premier issue” for us, said spokeswoman Wanda Moebius, CNN said.

But Mrs. Clinton — who’s walking a political tightrope in the lead-up to her presumed announced White House run — didn’t give the assurance they likely wanted.

“I think we could, taking a look at everything and not standing there with out arms folding, staring at each other across the partisan divide, begin to sort it out,” she said, CNN reported.

Mrs. Clinton then said the country needs to look at “the pluses and the minuses” of the law, while also saying that medical device companies “have an argument to make” to abolish the tax, CNN reported.

The medical device tax adds a 2.3 percent excise fee on the cost of medical implements, in part to subsidize the rest of Obamacare. It took effect in 2013, despite the opposition from both Republicans and Democrats.

Mrs. Clinton also said, CNN reported: “I am well aware there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered and changes that are going to be proposed and evaluated because clearly there is more work to be done. And your industry is bearing some of the burden alongside other stake holders. … But you are also, in my view, positioned to reap the benefits of those millions of newly insured consumers using … medical devices.”

The audience reaction to Mrs. Clinton’s speech was polite, but hardly overwhelming. Nobody clapped during her speech at the normal and expected applause points — and some even left the room early, before she had finished speaking, CNN reported.

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