Home Legislation Repeal of Medical Device Tax Goes to House

Repeal of Medical Device Tax Goes to House

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by Robert Sheen

The House Ways and Means Committee approved H.R. 160, which would repeal the scanner2.3% excise tax on medical device manufacturers imposed under the Affordable Care Act and intended to help cover some of the costs of the law. The bill is expected to be considered soon by the full House.

“It’s an iron law of economics that when you tax something, you tax something, you get less of it, so we’ve really got our wires crossed here,” Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan said of the tax. The Wisconsin Republican added, “We want more medical devices. What we want less of is this bureaucratic meddling.”

The committee passed the “Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015” by a vote of 25 to 14, mostly along party lines. The bill was introduced in January by Congressman Erik Paulsen, a Republican from Minnesota. It attracted 282 co-sponsors, including 41 Democrats.

The medical device tax has been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats as hindering medical innovation and increasing costs to patients.

Rep. Sandy Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is the ranking member of his party on the committee, said, “Clearly this bill reflects the majority’s objective to unravel” the ACA.

Other Democrats noted that the medical device industry had agreed to contribute to the cost of the health care law when legislation was being drafted, and that the industry’s revenue has increased despite the tax.

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