Baucus on the medtech tax: 'A deal's a deal'

September 26, 2013 by Brad Perriello

Sen. Max Baucus, an architect of the medical device tax, says "A deal's a deal" when it comes to talk of repealing the levy, telling the medtech industry that it's "improper" to seek repeal.

Baucus on the medtech tax: 'A deal's a deal'

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) didn't mince words when asked about some colleagues' push this week to repeal the medical device tax enacted this year as part of Obamacare, telling the medtech industry that, "A deal's a deal."

"That industry contributed to a solution; they agreed to the tax, essentially, as did other industries. It's improper at this point to go back on the deal," Baucus told Politico yesterday. "Also, it'd leave a deficit hole. ... Who's going to pay for getting them off the hook?"

The comments came as other senators mounted a push this week to roll repeal of the 2.3% sales levy into the discussion over a tax bill and another measure on the debt limit.

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Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), co-author with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) of a repeal bid, termed the tax a "stupid dumb-ass thing" earlier this week. The measure gained a 5th Democratic supporter when North Carolina's junior senator, Kay Hagan, signed on Sept. 23.

Hatch's remarks followed a joint statement from John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) opened up a new front in the war against the tax in a joint statement citing the "egregious" tax's "destructive" impact on the U.S. medtech industry.

The tax is slated to raise $30 billion over 10 years and was designed to help pay for Obamacare, in return for an influx of newly insured patients the tax's architects forecast as a result of the healthcare law. Klobuchar and Hatch this week said the repeal push should not be part of the furor over government funding that's embroiled the Beltway.