Hospitals

Here’s take 2 of legislative effort to repeal the 2.3 percent medical device tax

TaxBurdenIf at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

That seems to be the mantra of Minnesota’s congressional delegation as it relates to the highly unpopular 2.3 percent medical device tax that went into effect in January.

The Star Tribune is reporting that Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Republican, has introduced a new bill, after the last one passed the house but didn’t make it to the Senate, to kill the medical device tax with help from Wisconsin’s Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat. What’s more, Minnesota’s Democratic senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken are also entering the fray with a bill that they are supposed to introduce Thursday. This creates a companion bill to Paulsen’s repeal bill in the House.

Some companies are already cutting jobs because of the tax burden and some have loudly protested. But the leaders of the medical device world — the likes of Medtronic have deliberately stayed away from the controversy.

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Ryan Baird, a spokesman with LifeScience Alley, a trade association representing the device and life sciences industries in Minnesota, said that unlike pharmaceutical companies that will get new customers with the expansion of the uninsured population, device makers, especially in Minnesota, cater to a older population already covered by Medicare. Therefore, they cannot share in the additional bounty pharma firms will get. Which makes the tax an unfair burden, especially at a time of broad macroeconomic changes.

Still, he acknowledged it’s an uphill battle to repeal the device tax.

As they say, it’s like closing the barn door after the cow has already left the barn. Not to mention there appears to be no real plan on how to pay for the lost revenue from repealing that portion of the law.

[Photo Credit: Tax burden from BigStock Photos]

 

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