A bipartisan bill that would repeal the medical device tax sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) gained 2 more Republican sponsors in recent weeks.
Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) each signed on to the "Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act," which would do away with the 2.3% excise tax levied on U.S. sales of medical devices as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Yesterday, Hatch failed to win favor for an amendment to a Senate unemployment insurance bill that would also have repealed the tax, which he again called "stupid."
"We’re going to get that [repeal] passed sooner or later," Hatch said. "But in the meantime, we’re having medical device companies leaving the United States because of that stupid, gross tax on gross sales, if you can believe it."
"You know, I can’t think of a more stupid tax than a tax that taxes the gross sales of these companies. That is a dangerous, debilitating, disgusting, wrongful tax, and yet we can’t even get a vehicle over here to put it on – the other body would pass it quickly – so that we can get rid of it. All I can say is I’m very disappointed," he added.
Six Democrats have signed on to the Hatch repeal bid, S-232: Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota, New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey. The measure has 40 co-sponsors overall.
Earlier this week, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence urged President Barack Obama to work with Congress to repeal the tax.