|INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC filed this Form 10-K on 02/02/2018|
|<< Previous Page | Next Page >>|
Since its enactment, there have been judicial and Congressional challenges to certain aspects of the PPACA, as well as efforts by the current U.S. administration to modify, repeal or otherwise invalidate all, or certain provisions of, the PPACA. Since January 2017, the U.S. President has signed two Executive Orders designed to delay the implementation of certain provisions of the PPACA or otherwise circumvent some of the requirements for health insurance mandated by the PPACA. The current U.S. administration has also announced that it will discontinue the payment of cost-sharing reduction (“CSR”) payments to insurance companies until Congress approves the appropriation of funds for the CSR payments. The loss of the CSR payments is expected to increase premiums on certain policies issued by qualified health plans under the PPACA. A bipartisan bill to appropriate funds for CSR payments has been introduced in the Senate, but the future of that bill is uncertain. In addition, CMS has recently proposed regulations that would give states greater flexibility in setting benchmarks for insurers in the individual and small group marketplaces, which may have the effect of relaxing the essential health benefits required under the PPACA for plans sold through such marketplaces. Because of the 2017 Tax Act, the PPACA's individual mandate penalty for not having health insurance coverage will be eliminated starting in 2019. It is unclear what impact the elimination of the individual mandate penalty will have on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. Further, each chamber of Congress has put forth multiple bills designed to repeal or repeal and replace portions of the PPACA. Although the majority of these measures have not been enacted by Congress to date, Congress will likely continue to consider other legislation to repeal or repeal and replace elements of the PPACA.
In addition, other legislative changes have been proposed and adopted since the PPACA was enacted. These changes included aggregate reductions to Medicare payments to providers of up to 2% per fiscal year, which went into effect on April 1, 2013, and will remain in effect through 2025 unless additional Congressional action is taken. On January 2, 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was signed into law, which, among other things, further reduced Medicare payments to several types of providers, including hospitals, imaging centers and cancer treatment centers, and increased the statute of limitations period for the government to recover overpayments to providers from three to five years. MACRA repealed the formula by which Medicare made annual payment adjustments to physicians and replaced the former formula with fixed annual updates and a new system of incentive payments scheduled to begin in 2019 that are based on various performance measures and physicians’ participation in alternative payment models such as accountable care organizations. It is unclear what impact new quality and payment programs, such as MACRA, may have on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. Individual states in the U.S. have also become increasingly aggressive in passing legislation and implementing regulations designed to control product pricing, including price or patient reimbursement constraints, and discounts, and require marketing cost disclosure and transparency measures.
We expect additional state and federal health care reform measures to be adopted in the future that could have a material adverse effect on our industry generally and on our customers. Any changes of, or uncertainty with respect to future reimbursement rates, or changes in hospital admission rates could impact our customers’ demand for our products and services, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Further, the federal, state and local governments, Medicare, Medicaid, managed care organizations, and foreign governments have in the past considered, are currently considering, and may in the future consider healthcare policies and proposals intended to curb rising healthcare costs, including those that could significantly affect both private and public reimbursement for healthcare services. Future significant changes in the healthcare systems in the U.S. or other countries, including retroactive and prospective rate and coverage criteria changes, competitive bidding or tender processes for certain products and services, and other changes intended to reduce expenditures along with uncertainty about whether and how changes may be implemented, could have a negative impact on the demand for our products. We are unable to predict whether other healthcare policies, including policies stemming from legislation or regulations affecting our business may be proposed or enacted in the future; what effect such policies would have on our business; or the effect ongoing uncertainty about these matters will have on the purchasing decisions of our customers.
WE ARE SUBJECT TO FEDERAL, STATE AND FOREIGN LAWS GOVERNING OUR BUSINESS PRACTICES WHICH, IF VIOLATED, COULD RESULT IN SUBSTANTIAL PENALTIES. ADDITIONALLY, CHALLENGES TO OR INVESTIGATION INTO OUR PRACTICES COULD CAUSE ADVERSE PUBLICITY AND BE COSTLY TO RESPOND TO AND THUS COULD HARM OUR BUSINESS.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires us to track and disclose the source of any tantalum, tin, gold, and tungsten used in manufacturing which may originate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or adjoining regions (so called “conflict minerals”). These metals are central to the technology industry and are present in some of our products as component parts. In most cases no acceptable alternative material exists which has the necessary properties. Because it is not possible to determine the source of the metals by analysis, we must obtain a good faith description of the source of the intermediate components and raw materials from parties in our supply chain. The components that incorporate those metals may originate from many sources and we purchase fabricated products from manufacturers who may have a long and difficult-to-trace supply chain. As the spot price of these materials varies, producers of the metal intermediates can be expected to change the mix of sources used. Accordingly, components and assemblies we buy may have a mix of sources as their origin. We are required to carry out a diligent effort to determine and disclose the source of these materials. There can be no assurance we can obtain this information
|<< Previous Page | Next Page >>|