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.

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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.

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