Medical device tax: Paulsen goes grassroots to rally Senate support for repeal

February 26, 2013 by Brian Johnson

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) asks for grassroots help in rallying support for his bill to repeal the medica device tax, which now has 199 co-sponsors in the House but lackluster support in the Senate.

capitol hill

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) is amping up his ground game to win support for a repeal of the 2.3% medical device excise tax, asking online for grassroots help in his campaign to win support from the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.

Paulsen sent an open letter to members of the Medical Devices Group on LinkedIn yesterday, asking for help in urging their senators to sign on to a companion repeal bill sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in the upper chamber.

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"We have the support in the House, but in order to see this bill put into law, the Senate must also act. We need your help in making this legislation a reality," Paulsen wrote. "Please contact your Senator or Congressman. If they are on the list, thank them for the support. If they aren't, explain why repealing the tax is important to you, patients, and our economy and ask them to co-sponsor."

Paulsen's bill, the Protect Medical Innovation Act, has 199 co-sponsors in the House, according to Paulsen, who re-introduced the repeal legislation Feb. 6 with Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.). A companion bill in the Senate was filed Feb. 7 by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), with participation 4 Democrats of a total 9 senators.

A vote to repeal the tax, which went into effect Jan. 1, is virtually a sure thing in the House, where a similar medtech tax repeal bill passed passed 242-173 last year. But the effort still faces major obstacles in the Senate, where few sympathetic lawmakers have signed on.