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CLSA in InsideHealthPolicy: House Passes Device Tax Repeal Bill, Industry Urges Senate To Follow Suit

July 24, 2018 | InsideHealthPolicy
By David Roza

The Advanced Medical Technology Association was delighted by a 283-132 vote in the House of Representatives Tuesday (July 24) to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices that had been included as a funding source for the Affordable Care Act. Scott Whitaker, the association’s president and CEO, called the vote a win for American innovation, jobs and patients, and urged the Senate to quickly pass the legislation.

“We commend Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and a number of leaders from both sides of the aisle for their commitment to permanently repealing this onerous tax and for working to ensure our member companies have the long-term certainty they need to invest in R&D, hiring and other capital improvements to create the next-generation of treatments and cures,” Whitaker wrote in a press release after the vote.

Paulsen’s bill, the Protecting Medical Innovation Act of 2017, was introduced and marked up in 2017. The bill came amidst a series of moratoriums that prevented the tax from being implemented since the ACA was passed into law.

AdvaMed wasn’t alone in its support of the bill. Before the vote, the bill enjoyed support from 269 cosponsors, 223 of which are original cosponsors.

“The overwhelming, bipartisan support for repeal sends a strong message that lawmakers recognize this tax is not good health policy or good fiscal policy,” Whitaker said. “We know a significant majority of the Senate feels the same way and urge them to quickly take up this measure and eliminate once and for all this drag on one of the country’s best hopes for better patient care and economic growth.”

If the Senate passes the bill, it appears President Donald Trump is eager to sign it. The White House expressed its support in a statement of administration policy issued the day before the vote.

“The medical device tax, one of several harmful taxes enacted in Obamacare, has been delayed several times due to bipartisan recognition that, if imposed, it would raise healthcare costs for millions of Americans and penalize companies that are investing in medical device research and technology,” the statement read. “This tax is an obstacle for patients seeking access to medical advances, and threatens to undermine the position of the United States as the global leader in healthcare investment and innovation.”

The California Life Science Association also applauded the House for its vote.

“Full repeal is critical to ensuring that the U.S. does not jeopardize our position as a global leader in medical technology innovation,” wrote Sara Radcliffe, the president and CEO of the association. “We urge the U.S. Senate to swiftly take up this bill, and repeal the medical device tax once and for all.” — David Roza (droza@iwpnews.com)