Medtech Industry Readies Senate Push For Full Device Tax Repeal
Mark E. Brager
Bipartisan Support Continues Following Overwhelming Vote in House
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Fresh off a decisive bipartisan vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to permanently repeal the medical device excise tax, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) and its member companies are turning their attention to the Senate to secure a vote and get a bill to the president’s desk by year-end.
“Tuesday’s House vote was a giant step toward a better future for American patients, innovation and jobs, but we know our work is not done until we get to 60 votes in the Senate,” said AdvaMed President and CEO Scott Whitaker. “The strong, bipartisan repeal vote in the House, though, clearly shows that policymakers across the spectrum recognize what we’ve said all along: this tax makes no sense from either a health care or a tax policy point of view.”
The Protect Medical Innovation Act (H.R. 184), introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.), passed the House late Tuesday by a 283-132 vote, with nearly unanimous support from Republicans and 57 Democrats. The Senate companion (S. 108) also has strong bipartisan support, including eight Democratic co-sponsors.
Whitaker and representatives from the medtech industry in recent weeks have met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Ranking Member Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who have both expressed willingness to move a vote for full repeal.
“Our strategy is clear: get to 60 votes so the Majority Leader can put this bill on the floor and pass it,” said Whitaker. “We have eight Democrats now. The Democratic cosponsors of this bill, such as Sens. Klobuchar and Donnelly, support this initiative. If we can get two-to-four more, I’m confident the bill will pass. We’ve never been closer. So we’ll spend the coming weeks making our case, both here in Washington and back in key states.”
In addition to threatening future medical innovation, the tax puts good-paying American jobs at risk. The medtech industry lost nearly 29,000 jobs between 2012 and the tax’s suspension in 2015, according to figures from the U.S. Commerce Department.