House Approves Bill To Repeal Reform Law’s Tax on Medical Devices
On Thursday, the House voted 270-146 to approve a bill (HR 436) that would repeal a 2.3% excise tax on medical devices that was established to help fund the federal health reform law, Politico reports (DoBias, Politico, 6/7).
According to the New York Times, 37 Democrats joined 233 Republicans in support of the measure (Pear, New York Times, 6/7).
The bill, however, has "no hope" in the Senate, the Washington Post's "2Chambers" notes (O'Keefe, "2Chambers," Washington Post, 6/7). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has signaled that he will not bring the measure to the chamber floor for a vote (Politico, 6/7).
Meanwhile, the White House on Wednesday announced that President Obama would veto the bill if it reached his desk (California Healthline, 6/7). Republicans -- who have lobbied strongly against the bill with the medical device industry's support -- were 18 votes shy of a two-thirds majority to override a veto.
According to the AP/San Jose Mercury News, many of the Democrats who voted for the bill come from states with large medical technology industries, such as California, Minnesota and New York (Fram, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 6/7).
Debate Over Bill
Supporters of the bill have argued that the excise tax would increase health costs and create job losses.
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.), the bill's main sponsor, said the U.S. "is a leader in medical technology innovation," but the tax would "force many companies to lay off workers, move jobs overseas or close their doors altogether" (New York Times, 6/7).
Opponents of the bill have countered that the health reform law will help increase the customer bases of device makers and more than offset any losses created by the tax.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, "I hear from the medical device companies in my state, and I tell them, 'I donât think this is a bad bargain for you'" (Politico, 6/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.