The healthcare reform bill Senate Republicans are negotiating could keep some of the taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act, but the medical device tax isn’t 1 of them, anonymous sources told Reuters.
Hoping to delay drastic funding cuts to Medicaid, 13 senators are hashing out the bill’s provisions behind closed doors. Moderate GOPers want to ease the impact of repealing Obamacare on the poor and disable, but more conservative members are set on doing away with all ACA taxes, the 5 sources told the news service.
The medical device tax, a 2.3% levy on U.S. sales of prescribed medical devices, went into effect in 2013 but was put on a 2-year moratorium in 2015. It’s set to resume in 2018.
One proposal would keep the net investment income tax, a 3.8% surtax on capital gains, dividends and interest, while taxes on health insurance premiums, the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost employer-provided insurance and the medical device tax would be abolished. Another proposal would keep but scale back all the Obamacare taxes, according to Reuters.
“I think most of the taxes are going to go away,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the 3rd-ranking Republican in the Upper Chamber, told the newswire this week. “Our members are still having a conversation about if we want to make changes that are in the end going to require some additional revenue.”
“There’s no question that the current debate is not centered on eliminating all the taxes in Obamacare right now,” added Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).
An estimated 23 million people would lose their health insurance by 2026 under the House healthcare reform legislation, according to a non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report released in May. The CBO said that the so-called “Trumpcare” bill, which narrowly passed by U.S. House last month, would also reduce federal deficits by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026.
The Senate version must duplicate the $133 million in estimated savings the House bill would deliver; it needs at least 50 votes to pass, but even with Republicans controlling the Senate it’s unclear whether majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can muster enough support to pass the bill.
“Think of me with a Rubik’s cube, sitting there trying to think about what combination will get you to 50,” McConnell told Reuters in May.