Just Before Summer Recess, House Votes to Repeal Device Tax

By Maria Fontanazza

The vote is a step towards getting rid of the tax for good.

Earlier this week the House of Representatives voted 283-132 to permanently repeal to the 2.3% medical device tax. Fifty-seven Democrats and 226 Republicans approved the bill, the Protect Medical Innovation Act.

It’s been a roller coaster ride for the device tax. Most recently, in January, the tax was delayed another two years as part of legislation passed by Congress to reopen the government.

“Usually the government puts an excise tax on things we want to discourage like tobacco or alcohol or gas guzzling automobiles. Now why would we want to discourage innovation?” stated Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) during the debate before the House this week. “Only in Washington would you impose a tax on life saving medical device and think you’re going to reduce healthcare costs. And guess what? The device tax caused the loss of over 29,000 jobs.” While the tax was suspended Paulsen noted that medtech companies reinvested in R&D for technologies. He also added that device companies need certainty and predictability.

Following the approval of the legislation, Paulsen stated, “Today’s vote shows strong bipartisan support for lifting this burden on innovators in an industry so important to Minnesota.”

“The overwhelming, bipartisan support for repeal sends a strong message that lawmakers recognize this tax is not good health policy or good fiscal policy,” said AdvaMed President and CEO Scott Whitaker in a statement. “We know a significant majority of the Senate feels the same way and urge them to quickly take up this measure and eliminate once and for all this drag on one of the country’s best hopes for better patient care and economic growth.”

You can watch Representatives debate the device tax on C-Span.

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Maria Fontanazza, MedTech Intelligence