New Legislation Introduced to Repeal Medical Device Tax
Minnesota legislators are again taking up the effort to repeal the medical device tax in the Affordable Care Act. Representative Erik Paulsen, (R-Minn. 3rd District) on Wednesday introduced a device tax repeal (H.R. 523) with 178 cosponsors; and Democratic Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar plans to introduce similar legislation in the Senate today. Her co-sponsor will be Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah), The Hill reports. Repealing the 2.3 percent device tax was picked up by Republicans in the last session of Congress as a way to both save jobs, fight tax increases and defund the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare). H.R. 523 therefore primarily enjoys GOP support, although there are 20 Democrats among the co-sponsors. However, the device tax is also a local state issue. Minnesota is home to many medical device companies, which is why both Minnesota Democratic Senators -- Klobuchar as well as Senator Al Franken -- have been strong proponents for a repeal despite the president’s public support for the tax. H.R. 523 was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. Few bills make it out of committee for a vote — even with 40 percent of all the Congressional representatives signed on as co-sponsors. But popular single-issue bills, like H.R. 523, are often incorporated into larger omnibus pieces of legislation. To pass President Obama’s desk, the tax repeal would have to be part of a package with other issues that the White House favors more than it dislikes the tax repeal. President Obama said publicly last year that he would veto any repeal of the tax that made it to his desk. The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), which last year advocated strongly for a repeal, applauded the introduction of the legislation. “MITA appreciates the renewed bipartisan effort to repeal this job-killing tax that is already making a significant impact on the medical device industry,” said Gail Rodriguez, Executive Director of MITA, in the organization’s official statement.