A group of 1st- or 2nd-term Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives urged their leadership to book a vote this month on a bill that would repeal the medical device tax.
Led by Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), the legislators want House speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.) to schedule a vote on Rep. Erik Paulsen’s (R-Minn.) "Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015," or H.R. 160.
"This bill has broad bipartisan support from 277 members in the House and timely passage is critical to ensure continued access to innovative health medical technology," Peters wrote. "We ask that you consider moving H.R. 160 prior to the Memorial Day recess and work with us to include repeal in any legislative packages that develop this year to give out leading innovators, our nation’s small businesses, and patients the certainty they need."
The letter came a month to the day after a bipartisan batch of 41 freshman legislators from 27 states urged Boehner (R-Ohio) to fast-track a repeal vote.
There are several bills afoot in both the Senate and House that would do away with the tax, in addition to Paulsen’s bill, which has 278 co-sponsors including 37 Democrats. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is the sponsor of the Senate’s companion bill for repealing the medical device tax, S. 149 or the "Medical Device Access & Innovation Protection Act." The measure has 35 co-sponsors, including 5 Democrats.
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. It’s counterpart in the House, sponsored by Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), is H.R. 1533 or the "Medical Device Tax Elimination Act." Adams’s bill has 4 Democratic co-sponsors.
The issue 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.