The House voted to permanently repeal the 2.3% medical device tax, which has been delayed twice but has not yet been successfully repealed.

The House of Representatives took a big step Tuesday toward kicking the 2.3% medical device tax to the curb for good. The tax, which was included in the Affordable Care Act in 2010 has been highly criticized on both sides of the aisle as being bad for medical innovation.

“Today’s vote is a win for American innovation, American jobs, and most of all for American patients, who benefit from the life-changing innovations our industry produces every day,” said Scott Whitaker, president and CEO of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed).

When U.S. lawmakers reached a deal in January to end a government shutdown, the bill also suspended the medical device tax for another two years. But that hasn’t stopped industry advocates from lobbying for the permanent repeal of the dreaded tax.

The House voted 283 to 132 on Tuesday to repeal the tax, with 57 Democrats joining Republicans to approve the measure. Only one Republican voted against the repeal, while 131 Democrats voted against the bill. It will be up to the Senate, and then the President, to pound in the final nail in the coffin, however.

“The medical device industry is truly an American success story, directly employing more than 400,000 people,” said Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) in his remarks on the House floor Tuesday.

He went on to explain that many of these companies are small companies that most outside of the industry have never heard of that were started by a doctor or an engineer or entrepreneur “in the garage or in the backyard with an idea to improve or help save someone’s life.”

While a 2.3% tax may not sound like much, Paulsen reminded his colleagues on the House floor that it was not a tax on profits, it was a tax on sales.

By Amanda Pedersen | MD+DI

Image Credit:  Amanda Pedersen / MD+DI

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