Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and 10 other senators today filed another bill to repeal the medical device tax, a 2.3% levy on U.S. sales of medical devices enacted as part of Obamacare.
Five Democrats co-sponsored the Hatch bill, the Medical Device Access & Innovation Protection Act: Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
They were joined by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.).
"Every dollar medical device manufacturers spend on this onerous tax is a dollar taken away from American innovation, job growth, and the ability to provide groundbreaking medical technologies to patients in need," Hatch said in prepared remarks. "Both Republicans and Democrats understand just how bad this tax really is, and we owe it to the American people to ensure the development of life-saving medical devices are not plagued by high-costs that will, ultimately, be passed on to patients. This is a common-sense bill, and I’m hopeful Congress will act swiftly to repeal this misguided tax once and for all."
Last week, Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) introduced a similar repeal bill in the U.S. House of Representatives with enough co-sponsors to ensure passage.
The Hatch bill was accompanied by a letter addressed to leadership of both parties in the Senate and House, signed by 1,000 representatives of the medical device industry asking for swift action on repealing the tax.
"As the 114th Congress begins, we respectfully request that repeal of the medical device excise tax be addressed as a top priority," the letter stated. "Implementation of this excise tax – now estimated to collect approximately $25 billion in taxes – is adversely impacting patient care and innovation, and will compromise patient access to cutting edge medical technologies."
The medical device industry’s lobby was quick to laud the Hatch bill, with the Medical Device Manufacturers Assn., the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance and AdvaMed issuing a joint press release.
"Sens. Hatch and Klobuchar are passionate leaders of the bipartisan efforts to repeal the medical device tax, and MDMA thanks them and all their colleagues who recognize just how destructive this policy is for innovation," MDMA president & CEO Mark Leahey said in the statement. "The United States needs more good paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs, and patients throughout the world are looking to this dynamic industry to alleviate suffering. Repealing the medical device tax would help med tech innovators solve both of these pressing challenges."
"We’re encouraged to see continued bipartisan momentum behind repeal of the harmful device tax," added MITA executive director Gail Rodriguez. "MITA appreciates Sens. Hatch and Klobuchar’s leadership in introducing this bill in the Senate. Our industry’s jobs and the U.S. economy cannot wait any longer."
"This tax is an anchor on American economic growth. Our industry has long been an engine of growth, driving medical innovation and producing well-paying manufacturing and advanced science and technical jobs. That’s why there is broad bipartisan support to repeal this tax and we urge Congress to act quickly," AdvaMed president & CEO Stephen Ubl said. "Today’s news that U.S. leadership in medical research is eroding underscores the need to address this tax quickly before further harm is done."