Reports: Obamacare architect Baucus to step down at year's end

April 23, 2013 by Brad Perriello

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), 1 of the chief architects of the Affordable Care Act and the medical device tax, is reportedly stepping down at the end of this term.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the medical device tax

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is reportedly planning to retire when his current term ends this year, according to multiple news outlets today, potentially removing a key opponent to the medical device industry's push to repeal a 2.3% tax on U.S. medtech sales.

Baucus , as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, was 1 of the chief architects of Obamacare, helping to negotiate provisions including the medical device tax that's expected to raise about $30 billion over a decade to help fund healthcare reform.

Although the U.S. House last year passed a measure that would repeal the tax, a companion bill was never taken up in the Senate. Another House repeal bid already has enough co-sponsors to pass through the lower chamber this year.

Sign up to get our free newsletters delivered straight to your inbox

As the healthcare reform law was being negotiated back in the fall of 2009, Baucus proposed a "framework" version of the healthcare reform bill with a decade's worth of "medical device manufacturers fee" of $4 billion a year beginning in 2010. The device industry was quick to protest, countering with a $15 billion proposal. But the final bill to pass out of the Senate finance panel included the $4-billion-a-year levy.