Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) reaffirmed her support for repealing the medical device levy during a tour of med-tech makers in the Granite state this week, calling for a elimination of the "onerous new excise tax" set to take effect in 2013.
"At a time when our country needs good-paying, sustainable jobs, the administration’s continued push for a medical device tax makes no sense," Ayotte said in prepared remarks. "I will continue my efforts to repeal this burdensome new tax and the federal health care law."
Ayotte is a co-sponsor on the Medical Device Access & Innovation Protection Act, which was introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in January 2011 but has yet to hit the committee stage.
Sen. Ayotte, a member of the Senate’s small business committee, stopped by Smiths Medical headquarters to talk about the effects of the impending tax, which is expected to net some $2 billion a year in order to pay for certain provisions of the landmark health care law.
Industry lobby AdvaMed’s estimates that the tax will result in 43,000 jobs lost in the medical device field, and recent surveys suggest that device makers will raise prices in order to offset part or all of the burden of the levy.
Ayotte’s home state represents about 50 med-tech companies employing about 3,800 people, according to a press release.
Opponents of the tax have found some support for repeal in the GOP-led U.S. House of Representatives, but repeal efforts in the U.S. Senate have been lacking. A vote for repeal is considered highly unlikely, as Democrats aren’t eager to begin taking apart President Obama’s landmark health care reform bill.
Nonetheless, a vote on a repeal measure headed by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) may hit the House floor this year, Paulsen told MassDevice in an exclusive podcast interview. The bill had 228 co-sponsors as of mid-February, more than enough to pass.
Last month, industry lobby AdvaMed revealed plans to frame repeal efforts as tax reform, hoping to divorce the industry’s beef with the legislation from arguments surrounding health care reform.
President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform bill celebrates its 2-year anniversary this week, albeit without much fanfare from the administration, which will begin defending the law in the Supreme Court next week.