The U.S. Senate yesterday moved to put a bill that would repeal the medical device tax on the fast track , according to The Hill.
Majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) started the process last night by invoking Rule 14 for the bill, which passed the House on a 280-140 vote last week. Forty-six House Democrats voted to approve H.R. 160, the “Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015,” sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.).
McConnell’s move in the Senate means the bill can bypass the committee process and move directly to the Senate floor for debate and a vote.
The medical device tax, enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, levies a 2.3% tax on all U.S. sales of prescribed medical devices. It went into effect at the beginning of 2013.
Paulsen’s measure is 1 of several repeal bids circulating on Capitol Hill. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is the sponsor of a Senate companion, S. 149 or the “Medical Device Access & Innovation Protection Act.” That measure has 36 co-sponsors, including 5 Democrats – Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Ben Casey of Pennsylvania, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.
A pair of Democrat-led bills would also repeal the tax, but unlike the Hatch and Paulsen measures would replace the lost revenue by closing tax loopholes for the energy industry. A bill by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), S. 844 or the “No Taxation on Device Innovation Act,” has no co-sponsors. Its counterpart in the House, H.R. 1533 or the “Medical Device Tax Elimination Act” sponsored by Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), has 5 co-sponsors, all Democrats.
Repealing the tax also came up in a U.S. Senate subcommittee meeting in April, when the Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare panel, led by Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) and ranking member Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), convened the hearing to consider the impact of the medical device tax.