Posted in Finance

How the tariff war with China could hurt healthcare providers

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
How the tariff war with China could hurt healthcare providers

As President Trump escalates his trade war with China, healthcare organizations face the prospect of spending more on medical equipment, computer hardware and software, and other technology products.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Trump is threatening to slap an additional $257 billion in import taxes on Chinese goods on top of the $200 billion announced Monday. The latest threat was issued after China said on Tuesday it would impose $60 billion in new tariffs on U.S. imports in response to Monday’s news.
For healthcare IT leaders and business decision-makers, the trade war with China could put pressure on tight budgets and make it harder to obtain equipment to provide quality care to patients.
China by far is the largest exporter of goods to the U.S., shipping $505.5 billion in products to the American market in 2017 (Mexico was a distant second at $314.3 billion). Should Trump follow through on his threat to more than double the number of Chinese products facing import taxes, nearly everything shipped from the Asian nation to the U.S. will cost more.
While existing supply contracts will blunt any immediate impact on hospital budgets, an extended trade war eventually will affect the bottom line.
But, as Healthcare IT News writes, “when current contracts with suppliers expire, whether in a year or three years, the tariffs could increase prices on everything from medical devices to parts for printers and copiers, computers, furniture, machinery for paper products – which in turn could affect the cost of paper towels or toilet paper – batteries, microscopes and scientific equipment.”