Vote on Medical Device Tax Repeal Expected this Month

Posted July 9, 2018

Nearly six months after a funding bill was signed into law that temporary suspended the 2.3% excise tax on medical devices, a renewed effort is underway to eliminate the tax permanently before it is scheduled to come back into force in fewer than 18 months.

The latest effort comes in the form of H.R. 184, the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2017, which is expected to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives later this month, according to a report by The Hill. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-MN, and has bipartisan support.

“The medical device tax continues to stifle innovation, cost American jobs, and drive up healthcare costs despite bipartisan opposition in both houses of Congress,” Paulsen said in a statement after introducing the Protect Medical Innovation Act to Congress.

Paulsen’s bill is not the only ongoing effort to repeal the tax. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate in January, S.2287, the No Taxation on Device Innovation Act, by Sens. Ed Markey, D-MA, and Elizabeth Warren, D-MA.

The medical device tax began with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, where it was intended to raise $26 billion to help fund ACA-related programs. However, the tax increasingly has drawn opposition from both sides of the aisle, as well as condemnation from the medical device industry for being overly burdensome.

Opponents of repealing the tax have expressed concerns about lost revenue.

“We're facing large and growing deficits, so we need all the revenues we can get,” Paul Van de Water, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told The Hill. “If we provide further tax breaks for medical device manufacturers, that just increases the desire of other industries or interest groups to push for further tax cuts to benefit them.”

Based on estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing the medical device tax would reduce federal revenues by about $20 billion over 10 years.