Although the GOP-led Senate is also likely to approve the measure, the White House this week threatened a veto should it make it to President Barack Obama’s desk.
The House voted 280-140 to approve H.R. 160, the “Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015,” sponsored by longtime medical device industry ally Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.).
“Only in Washington would you impose a tax on life-saving medical technology and think you will actually reduce healthcare costs,” Paulsen said today, according to the Hill.
The House Ways & Means Committee earlier this month approved the measure along sharply partisan lines, with 25 Republicans and a lone Democrat (Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.)) voting to pass H.R. 160 and an amendment from chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that would put the repeal into effect beginning the quarter after its passage into law. H.R. 160 has 241 co-sponsors, including 41 Democrats. The bill, sponsored by longtime medical device industry champion Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.), is 1 of several repeal bids circulating on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is the sponsor of the Senate’s companion bill, S. 149 or the “Medical Device Access & Innovation Protection Act.” The measure has 36 co-sponsors, including 5 Democrats – Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Ben Casey of Pennsylvania, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.
A pair of Democrat-led bills would also repeal the tax, but unlike the Hatch and Paulsen measures would replace the lost revenue by closing tax loopholes for the energy industry. A bill by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), S. 844 or the “No Taxation on Device Innovation Act,” has no co-sponsors. Its counterpart in the House, H.R. 1533 or the “Medical Device Tax Elimination Act” sponsored by Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), has 5 co-sponsors, all Democrats.
Repealing the tax also came up in a U.S. Senate subcommittee meeting in April, when the Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare panel, led by Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) and ranking member Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), convened the hearing to consider the impact of the medical device tax.