Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah sponsored the Senate bid to do away with the tax, which is slated to kick in starting in 2013. It’s a 2.3 percent tax on revenues designed to raise $20 billion over 10 years.
Hatch’s measure, with the long-winded title “A bill to repeal the job-killing tax on medical devices to ensure continued access to life-saving medical devices for patients and maintain the standing of United States as the world leader in medical device innovation,” attracted four co-sponsors: Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Dr. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).
“A $20 billion tax hike on medical device manufacturers to fund Obamacare will cripple an important engine of opportunity, job growth and innovation, while hurting the advancement of technologies essential to improving patient care,” Hatch said in prepared remarks.
Over in the U.S. House, a bid by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) to resurrect his repeal bill was met with evident fervor by his House colleagues, 41 of whom signed on as co-sponsors. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) filed a bill, with eight co-sponsors, carries the same name as Paulsen’s: “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on medical devices.”
The Advanced Medical Technology Assn. sought to walk a fine line, expressing support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but affirming its support for a repeal of the med-tech excise tax.
“While AdvaMed supports repeal of the excise tax, it remains committed to the central elements of health reform that are consistent with our long-held principles, including expanded coverage, reform of the payment system to encourage quality and efficiency, and a new emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention,” president and CEO Stephen Ubl said in prepared remarks. “As other proposed changes to the bill are considered by Congress, we will evaluate them in the light of these principles and their impact on patients and medical innovation.”