The ringing in of the new year also rang in the return of the medical device tax, a 2.3% levy on medtech sales that went back into effect after a two-year pause.
The U.S. Congress closed out 2017 without taking action to delay or repeal the medtech tax, despite broad support from both sides of the aisle. Before the holiday recess, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said repealing the medical device tax and others contained in Obamacare would have to wait until early this year.
Late last year Brady and Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) introduced a bill, H.R. 4617, that would suspend the tax for five years. Later the so-called “Problem Solvers Caucus” in the House filed a bill to amend Obamacare, H.R. 4695, containing a series of amendments to the Affordable Care Act including outright repeal of the medical device tax retroactive to Dec. 31, 2017.
There are at least six other bills in both the House and Senate that would affect the tax, according to Congress.gov, mainly aiming to amend Obamacare. The provisions in a pair of house bills, H.R. 184 and H.R. 1628, include repeal of the tax retroactive to Dec. 31, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2017, respectively; another House proposal, H.R. 1436, would repeal the tax but does not specify a date. And H.R. 286 would exempt emergency medical devices used by first responders.
In the Senate, S. 108 would enact an outright repeal retroactive to the end of last year. Another measure out of the Upper Chamber, S. 554, includes repealing the tax in a laundry list of ACA amendments.