Aug 26, 2015 - 5:45pm

Medical Device Tax Repeal Vote Expected This Fall

Senior Editor, Digital Content


Instruments used to perform bariatric surgery.
Photographer: David Maxwell/Bloomberg.

When Senators come back to Washington, D.C. this fall, one thing on their plate will be repealing the medical device tax:

The Senate will make an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act's medical-device tax before the end of the calendar year, according to a Republican and Democratic aide.

The House passed a repeal measure in June with bipartisan support, but until now, there have been few signs of movement in the Senate.

The repeal bill now moving its way through the Senate is not identical to the House measure, but rather a tax-repeal bill introduced by Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch in January, the Democratic aide said. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is the lead Democrat working on moving the measure forward, the aide added.

A McConnell spokesman said that a vote on the medical device tax repeal has not been scheduled yet, "but it's something we'd like to get done, of course."

In June, with a bipartisan, veto-proof margin, the House voted to repeal the 2.3% tax on medical device sales.

Ending this tax would be welcome news for an industry dominated by small and medium-sized companies, which make up 91% of the entire industry, according to a 2013 American Action Forum report.

These firms have it especially hard since the tax is on sales and not profits. Many of these companies are young and not generating profits yet.

For these companies, the medical device tax is an additional 2.3% increase in the cost of selling a product. They have to make up for this additional cost by cutting back on R&D and investment—meaning less device innovation and business growth—or not hiring more workers.

In 2013, Senators voted 79-20 to include a repeal of the tax in the FY 2014 budget. Hopefully by the end of the year, they’ll have another chance to make this harmful tax will go the way of the dinosaurs.

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.