CLSA in the San Francisco Business Times: House votes to repeal medical device tax

Kevin Truong | San Francisco Business Times
July 25, 2018

The medical device industry is cheering a major blow to a fiscal bogeyman dating back to the passage of Obamacare.

The House of Representatives voted 289-132 on Tuesday to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device sales passed in 2010 along with the rest of the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-seven Democrats joined Republicans in voting to repeal the tax, which was meant to help pay for the coverage expansion in health care law.

The tax initially came into effect in 2013, before being suspended by Congress for two years in 2016, an act that was renewed in 2018.

While President Obama threatened to veto any tax repeal during his time in office, the new presidential administration and Republican majorities in Congress have led to new efforts to repeal the law.

While the tax was the subject of fierce debate and millions in lobbying dollars from the medical device industry who called it a job and innovation killer, the actual effect of the policy turned out to be more of a mixed bag.

The Congressional Research Service estimated in 2015 that the medical device industry lost fewer than 100 jobs because of the tax and device sales continued to increase after its passage.

Still, interest groups and trade associations are hailing the House vote as a major coup for their industry and urging the Senate to move forward with the tax repeal.

It is yet to be seen if the Senate will take on the measure, where 60 votes will be required for its passage. President Trump has said he is in favor of repealing the tax.

“For many years, our trade association has consistently led the charge in educating the California Congressional delegation on the perils of this tax on innovation. CLSA and our broad membership of biomedical innovators welcome today’s news,” California Life Sciences Association CEO and President Sara Radcliffe said in a statement.

“Since its inception in 2013, there has been increasing bipartisan support to scrap the medical device tax. Full repeal is critical to ensuring that the U.S. does not jeopardize our position as a global leader in medical technology innovation.”

Read the full article at the San Francisco Business Times.