The medical device tax repeal effort should hit the U.S. House floor for a vote this year and has more than enough support to pass, according to bill author Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.).
The measure has gained momentum, with 228 representatives signing on as co-sponsors of the tax repeal bill, Paulsen told MassDevice today.
"As some of my colleagues have become more aware of what the consequences are, they’ve been paying more attention and just literally slowly signed on one after another after another almost every week for the last 6 months," Paulsen told us. "I actually expect that this is going to move forward in the House sometime this year, hopefully sooner than later. That’s a question that’s up to leadership."
Paulsen is co-chair, with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), of the House Medical Technology Caucus, formed in 1993 and tasked with increasing awareness of issues unique to the med-tech industry.
He has been picking away at the 2.3% medical device industry levy, contained in President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act and set to take effect in 2013, since originally introducing the Protect Medical Innovation Act in April 2010.
Paulsen began circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter to members of the House in January 2011, garnered the support of 100 co-sponsors by mid-March and had accumulated the support of 218 signers by November.
Despite the growing momentum, the measure has largely failed to make an impact among Democrats, with only 8 House Dems. lending their name to the measure, but Paulsen’s confident that there are more supporters hiding in the wings.
"There are some Democratic members who have not signed on to the repeal bill because they’re a little nervous about acknowledging that the health care law they may have voted for isn’t perfect," Paulsen said. "They’re more inclined to vote for it if they get the opportunity to vote on the floor, rather than sign their name on it and deal with a sort of push-back among some of their own base."