“There is a role for government to play in business, but sometimes government needs to know when to get out of the way,” says Scott Brown, the former Republican senator from Massachusetts, in a video interview with Mergers & Acquisitions at ACG Boston’s Growth Conference 2013, which brings together some 600 middle-market dealmakers and is the largest M&A event in New England. (Watch the video interview, below.)
“The amount of new regulations coming out is unbelievable,” Brown argues. “ObamaCare has 18 new taxes. The new medical device tax is changing the way medical device makers look at investing here in Massachusetts and in the United States,” says Brown, referring to the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices in the Affordable Care Act, which he opposed.
The medical device manufacturing industry is an economic driver for Massachusetts, says Brown, who claims there are more than 350 companies in the sector in the Bay State. (For more on the sector, see “Medical Devices Drive Health Care M&A” in the June issue of Mergers & Acquisitions.
Another government obstacle the growing industry faces is a “lack of understanding and consistency” on the part of the Food and Drug Administration, according to Brown. “You can’t be marching along in the approval process, and out of left field, the FDA says, we were just kidding. Just kidding costs jobs, money and investment rounds.”
Brown says he is concerned that the U.S. will lose the opportunity to lead the world in the healthcare industry, and medical device manufacturers will move to countries where the taxes are lower and the regulations are fewer.
“You have medical devices that have been used and approved overseas for over a decade, and there should be some sort of grandfathering, or a credit of some sort, to bring those devices here,” Brown says. “If we don’t get this squared away very quickly, we’re going to lose a tremendous opportunity.”
Brown is best known for beating Democrat Martha Coakley, the former Mass. attorney general, in a 2010 special election for the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, a Democrat who represented the Bay State for 47 years from 1962 to 2009. Brown later lost the seat in the 2012 general election to Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a former Harvard Law School bankruptcy professor who served as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
In February, Brown became a contributor to Fox News and in March, he joined law firm Nixon Peabody LLP as counsel in the firm’s Boston office, where his practice focuses on business and governmental affairs related to the financial services industry.
More recently, he is also reportedly considering a move to New Hampshire to run for the Senate in 2014.
“I don’t think I’m done,” says Brown. Will he move to New Hampshire? He smiles: “New Hampshire is a great state.”
14-Day Free Trial
Corrected June 6, 2013 at 8:22AM: 2430742774001