At Long Last…Repeal of the Medical Device Tax!

By Dani Mitchell & Molly Fishman
Jan. 22, 2020

After a decade of vocal opposition, Congress finally fully and permanently repealed the 2.3% excise tax on medical devices. The repeal was included in one of the end of the year spending packages (H.R. 1865) and was signed into law by the President on December 20, 2019. This action could not have happened at a more critical moment, as the device tax was set to go back into effect on January 1, 2020.

While the medical device excise tax was troublesome for the medtech sector nationwide, it had a disproportionate negative impact on California, where our state’s over 1,800 medical technology companies employ more than 81,000 people. This employee population represents over 19% of the nation’s medical technology workforce and ranks California as the #1 state in the country in terms of medical technology sector employment. As such, the enactment of the repeal of the medical device tax was a huge victory for the Golden State and the medical device sector nationwide.

CLSA worked tirelessly, in collaboration with our membership and allied stakeholder partners including AdvaMed, MDMA, and MITA, to advocate for device tax relief in waning days of 2019. However, those efforts would not have been so effective had we all not spent the past 10 years educating and engaging congressional leaders about the impact of the tax on California and the overall sector.

Some of the more recent highlights of CLSA’s efforts to oppose the medical device tax include:

  • Successfully advocating for the California Congressional Delegation’s cosponsorship of HR 2207, the Protect Medical Innovation Act. Notably, Scott Peters (D-San Diego) served as a co-lead of the bill, and a total of 27 total bipartisan California Delegation cosponsors (over half of our delegation), including all 6 of our “freshmen” Members of Congress;
  • Participating in AdvaMed’s executive advocacy day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. with our CEO, Mike Guerra, and Board Chair, Melinda Richter of JLABS – the only state medtech association to attend;
  • Signing and gaining support for the MDMA/AdvaMed/MITA letter, co-signed by over 600 organizations, of which almost 300 were from California;
  • Spearheading a targeted CLSA digital grassroots advocacy communications campaign to engage California patients and other advocates to engage in the debate;
  • Supporting Rep. Tom McClintock’s (R-Roseville) CA Republican Delegation letter to House Leadership; and
  • Securing an OpEd in the San Francisco Chronicle by CLSA President & CEO Mike Guerra calling for urgent action to repeal the medical device tax.

With the device tax finally behind us, CLSA looks forward to working with our medical device members to begin 2020 fresh and focused on advancing proactive policies that will advance science, create new jobs, and support increased patient access to new and novel innovative medical technologies.

Questions? Please contact Molly Fishman, CLSA’s Director of Federal Government Relations (