Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) this week became the 5th Democrat from the Upper Chamber to join Republican colleagues on a bill that would repeal the medical device tax enacted as part of Obamacare.
Hagan joins fellow Senate Dems Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota, Pennsylvania’s Robert Casey and Joe Donnelly of Indiana in signing the bill as its Republican sponsors put on a publicity blitz for the measure, the "Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act."
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) last February, has 36 co-sponsors including Hagan, who added her name Sept. 23. The medical device tax, a 2.3% levy on U.S. sales of medical devices, is projected to raise $30 billion over a decade. It went into effect Jan. 1, with medical device trade lobbies claiming that more than $1 billion was tendered to the IRS by medical device firms so far this year.
A day after Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) opened up a new front in the war against the tax, Hatch led the GOP charge against the tax by labeling it a "stupid dumb-ass thing" yesterday, according to The Hill.
"They needed $30 billion more to pay for this monstrosity called Obamacare," Hatch said, according to the website. "Frankly, it’s 1 of the stupidest votes I’ve ever seen in my life, 1 of the stupidest aspects of that whole Obamacare bill. And there’s so many stupid aspects of that it would take all day to explain them to you."
McCain and Graham, in joint statement, citing the tax’s "destructive" impact on the U.S. medtech industry.
"This egregious $30 billion tax hike has increased health costs to consumers and takes direct aim at American innovation by punishing the researchers and manufacturers of things like hearing aids, pacemakers, patient monitors, X-ray machines and artificial hearts," the senators said. "Many of these companies have already announced plans to cut as many as 45,000 jobs, and some have canceled plans for company expansions.
"It is clear that this tax is having a destructive effect on one of the most innovative sectors of the American economy," they said.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) also chimed in, telling MSNBC that Obamacare should be cut apart piece by piece, starting with the medical device tax, according to the Pittsburgh Business Journal.