The Senate’s non-binding vote in favor of striking the 2.3% medical device tax was more than a mere gesture, according to Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) – it set the stage for true repeal.
The Congressman and long-time medical device tax opponent told reporters this week that the Senate’s 79-20 vote against the tax signals growing momentum in the repeal movement, especially from Democratic lawmakers, which made up 33 of the majority.
"This was a big step forward," Coats said during an interview with Inside Indiana Business. "The White House was shocked by the margin, the number of Democrats that crossed the aisle and voted with Republicans on repealing this. "
The non-binding amendment to repeal the medical device tax, which was part of a non-binding continuing budget resolution, has been criticized by some as little more than cover for lawmakers who can tout their support of the industry without having to make the hard choices about the tax and the $30 billion in revenue its expected to raise over 10 years.
"You can take non-binding votes ’til you’re blue in the face," former Massachusetts Senator Scoot Brown told MassDevice.com. "It’s very easy to say you’re not in favor of the medical device tax. It’s very easy to take a vote that has no bearing whatsoever. When it gets hard is when you have to take a vote where the rubber meets the road."
Coats was much more optimistic on the Senate vote, calling it "good news for Indiana."
"I’ve been championing this repeal for a long time," he said during the interview. "It is the 1st real niche in the Obamacare plan to cut into that on the basis of this is not going to work. It keeps people from work rather than putting them to work, it keeps our companies from thriving and making a profit, exporting overseas, and that vote, I think, will set the stage for repeal of that."