[Ip-health] House votes to give tax break to medical device makers (280-140, with 46 Democrats voting in favor)

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Sun Jun 21 07:44:28 PDT 2015


* The medical device tax has been at the center of a years long, $200
million industry lobbying campaign that was rebuffed by Democratic leaders
in the Senate when they were in the majority.

* Dozens of Democrats have also supported repealing the tax in the last
several years, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar
(Minn.). Both live in states where the device industry has a heavy
presence, and have criticized the provision as a tax on manufacturing.

*  "If people vote for this industry to essentially go back on its
commitment to participate, other providers are going to ask for the same
treatment. And so in that respect, what the Republicans are aiming to do is
to unravel — to unravel — ACA," Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) said.


House votes to repeal ObamaCare tax
By Sarah Ferris - 06/18/15 12:36 PM EDT

The House voted Thursday to repeal an ObamaCare tax on medical devices that
is intended to generate billions of dollars for the law.

The final vote was 280-140, with 46 Democrats voting in favor.

Supporters of the bill say the 2.3 percent tax, which affects about 7,000
manufacturers nationwide, is holding back innovation on important devices
like X-ray machines and ventilators.

“Only in Washington would you impose a tax on life-saving medical
technology and think you will actually reduce healthcare costs," said Rep.
Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.), the bill’s lead sponsor.

The House first voted to repeal the tax passed in 2012. While the bill does
not include a plan to make up for the lost revenue from repealing the tax,
supporters believe it stands a chance of clearing both chambers now that
the Senate is controlled by Republicans.

The legislation marks one of the biggest successes in the GOP’s campaign
against ObamaCare after more than 50 votes to repeal the entire law.

Still, it faces an almost certain veto from President Obama because it does
not replace the $25 billion in funding for ObamaCare over the next decade.

Dozens of Democrats have also supported repealing the tax in the last
several years, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar
(Minn.). Both live in states where the device industry has a heavy
presence, and have criticized the provision as a tax on manufacturing.

Paulsen has previously said he’s optimistic about his bill’s chances
because “there’s new Senate leadership that is interested in bringing the
bill forward.”

Many of the Democrats who opposed the measure Thursday said they fear that
the legislation would be a slippery slope for other industries with their
own grips about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

"If people vote for this industry to essentially go back on its commitment
to participate, other providers are going to ask for the same treatment.
And so in that respect, what the Republicans are aiming to do is to unravel
— to unravel — ACA," Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) said.

Repealing the tax has been described as the “low-hanging fruit” of the
healthcare law, along with abolishing Medicare’s cost-cutting panel, known
as the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Legislation repealing that board
will come up for a vote in the House next week.

The medical device tax has been at the center of a years long, $200 million
industry lobbying campaign that was rebuffed by Democratic leaders in the
Senate when they were in the majority.

Those opposed to the repeal, including Sen. Minority Leader Harry Reid
(D-Nev.), have argued that device companies remain extremely profitable
despite the tax.

While lobbyists and Republican aides say the Obama administration appears
open to repealing the tax, officials say they do not support the bill
because of the hole it would blow in ObamaCare’s funding stream.

—Cristina Marcos contributed.


-- 
James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org/donate.html
KEI DC tel: +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile: +1.202.361.3040, Geneva Mobile:
+41.76.413.6584, twitter.com/jamie_love



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