House Republicans are geared up to begin pushing a vote on a long-awaited bill to repeal the 2.3% medical device tax set to take effect next year.
Erik Paulsen’s (R-Minn.) repeal bill has more than enough support to pass in the House, although not from many Democrats, and the measure may come to a vote as soon as next month.
GOP leaders have decided to move forward with the bill following next week’s "state work" break following the Memorial Day holiday, Paulsen told Minnesota Public Radio last night.
Paulsen is co-chair, with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), of the House Medical Technology Caucus, formed in 1993 and tasked with increasing awareness of issues unique to the med-tech industry.
He has been picking away at the 2.3% medical device levy, contained in President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act and set to take effect in 2013, since originally introducing the Protect Medical Innovation Act in April 2010.
Despite the growing momentum, the measure has largely failed to make an impact among Democrats, with only 8 House Dems. lending their name to the measure, but Paulsen’s confident that there are more supporters hiding in the wings.
"There are some Democratic members who have not signed on to the repeal bill because they’re a little nervous about acknowledging that the health care law they may have voted for isn’t perfect," Paulsen told MassDevice.com in February. "They’re more inclined to vote for it if they get the opportunity to vote on the floor, rather than sign their name on it and deal with a sort of push-back among some of their own base."
A companion bill passing through the Democrat-led Senate hasn’t mustered much support, and Senate Republicans have recently taken to finding creative outlets for repeal.
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) launched a short-lived effort to wedge a tax repeal bill into the FDA user fee act, a measure reauthorizing the fees the FDA charges for medical device and drug review.
Hatch almost immediately withdrew the amendment, so as not to "derail" the FDA user fee negotiations.
Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) brought discussion back to the med-tech tax in Senate hearings for the FDA user fee bill today, saying that today he and others would introduce another amendment to repeal the "job-killing" tax.
"Massachusetts alone is expected to lose over 2,600 jobs as a direct result of this tax, and up to about 10% of our entire medical device manufacturing workforce will be affected," Brown said. "The bottom line is that we cannot have this kind of job loss in any sector of our economy when we are still struggling."