The U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways & Means Committee is planning a "markup session" tomorrow for a bill sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) that would repeal the medical device tax slated to go into effect next year.
The powerful panel will meet to review the bill at 10 a.m. May 31, according to its website.
The review comes as the full House prepares to vote on the measure as early as next Monday, according to a planning memo from majority leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to House Republicans.
"Related to the medical device industry is the draconian tax that is scheduled to go into effect under ObamaCare. This tax, to fund a flawed law, will have a negative impact on jobs in the medical device industry," Cantor wrote. "Regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of ObamaCare, we should all be able to agree on Erik Paulsen’s bill to repeal the medical device tax (H.R. 436) and Lynn Jenkins’ bill to repeal the OTC ban (H.R. 5842). I expect a vote on the Paulsen and Jenkins bills as early as the week of June 4."
The Ways & Means panel is also slated to mark up other bills related to the healthcare reform law, including 1 designed to amend tax laws to encourage participation in flexible savings accounts for medical expenses; a measure that would repeal IRS provisions that disqualify expenses for over-the-counter medicine under some types of health insurance; and a bill aimed at improving health savings accounts.
The med-tech levy, a 2.3% tax on U.S. revenues from medical device sales, is expected to raise as much as $30 billion over 10 years to help pay for healthcare reform. It’s due to go into effect in January 2013.
The Paulsen bill had 238 co-sponsors as of last night, more than enough to pass through the House, but few Democrats had lent their signature to the repeal measure. Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.) was the latest Democrat to co-sponsor Paulsen’s bill, joining less than a dozen of his peers.
Without blue support the repeal movement may flop in the Senate, where not a single Democrat has signed on to a companion bill.
The House is also expected to vote today on its version of the FDA user fee reauthorization bill, which would give the FDA continued authority to charge device and drug makers for agency review of new products. The companion bill in the Senate passed in a near-unanimous vote last week.