Window for Congressional Action Closing Fast on Medical Device Tax Repeal
By Dani Mitchell and Jenny Nieto
August 25, 2019
When Congress returns from the District Work period (August recess) in September, there will be only 10 legislative weeks remaining for Congress to take action to prevent the Medical Device Excise Tax from going back into effect on January 1, 2020. CLSA has worked closely with our membership, our national trade association partners, allied stakeholders and congressional champions to introduce the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2019 (H.R. 2207), which would permanently repeal this innovation stifling tax. The bill currently has 244 bipartisan cosponsors, including 25 bipartisan members of the California Congressional Delegation.
Earlier this year, the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) established several Tax Task Forces, including one on health, to examine temporary tax provisions that expired, or will expire, between December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2019. CLSA submitted a comment letter to the co-chairs of the SFC Health Tax Task Force Co-Leads to urge them to recommend a full and permanent repeal of the medical device excise tax. The letter includes several case studies of companies in California who describe ways they have been directly harmed by the device tax or have benefitted from the repeal.
Last month, the House of Representatives considered H.R. 748, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act, a bill that would repeal the 40 percent excise tax imposed on the most generous and expensive employer-sponsored health insurance plans. This “Cadillac tax” was enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), but has never been implemented due to continual delays from Congress. H.R. 748 was considered under “suspension of the rules,” a legislative process reserved for non-controversial bills and does not allow opportunities for amendments to be included in the underlying bill. However, during the debate on the bill, Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare), Ron Estes (R-Kan.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) did highlight the importance of also repealing the medical device tax as soon as possible. H.R. 748 was ultimately passed by a vote of 419-6.
Late last month, CLSA joined AdvaMed and a group of medtech companies to meet with senior policy staff in the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), and urged the Speaker to bring the Protect Medical Innovation Act to the House Floor for a vote expeditiously.
The House will likely vote on additional healthcare legislation this fall. CLSA continues to fight for the full and permanent repeal of this harmful policy, and is exploring all available options to advance repeal legislation across the finish line. We encourage you to TAKE ACTION to repeal the medical device excise tax: visit our Digital Advocacy Center to send a letter, tweet or share our new campaign today. Questions? Please contact Jenny Nieto, CLSA’s Vice President of Federal Government Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org).