A bipartisan group of senators reintroduced the Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act today, which would do away entirely with the 2.3% excise tax on medical devices. The move comes as Republicans in Congress ready to repeal Obamacare.
The bill, sponsored by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), would amend the Internal Revenue Code to repeal the medical device tax. Last week, House representatives Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) introduced a bill, the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2017, that also seeks to remove the levy on all U.S. sales of prescribed medical devices.
The tax was suspended for 2 years in December 2015 through another bill sponsored by Paulsen.
Medical device lobby group AdvaMed praised the legislation and urged swift congressional movement.
“Senate introduction of this legislation brings us one step closer to eliminating this burdensome tax, which has proven to be a drag on the medical technology industry’s ability to innovate on behalf of patients and to create good-paying American jobs. AdvaMed thanks the bill’s lead sponsors, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), for their leadership and their consistent support for improving patient care through innovation. We also thank the bill’s other original co-sponsors: Sens. Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.). The bipartisan support of this measure and its prominence as one of the earliest bills introduced in the new Senate clearly demonstrates that members understand this tax needs to go now,” AdvaMed president & CEO Scott Whitaker said in a prepared statement.
“Patients and the U.S. economy are already benefiting from the temporary suspension of the tax, as medical technology companies have been able to reinvest those funds into new R&D, infrastructure improvements and new hiring. But these benefits are not assured. In order for these benefits to continue, companies need the certainty of permanent repeal to support long-term planning that will allow for future patient innovations and job growth. With bipartisan device tax repeal legislation now introduced in both the House and Senate, we urge Congress and the new administration to move swiftly on permanent repeal of this tax,” Whitaker said.
As Republican lawmakers have moved to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they say that there’s very little reason to fear that the tax will return under the incoming administration.
Hatch’s Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act was 1st introduced in January 2015.
“Every dollar medical device manufacturers spend on this onerous tax is a dollar taken away from American innovation, job growth, and the ability to provide groundbreaking medical technologies to patients in need,” Hatch said after he introduced the bill 2 years ago. “Both Republicans and Democrats understand just how bad this tax really is, and we owe it to the American people to ensure the development of life-saving medical devices are not plagued by high-costs that will, ultimately, be passed on to patients. This is a common-sense bill, and I’m hopeful Congress will act swiftly to repeal this misguided tax once and for all.”