Tags: medical | device | sales | tax

Senate Backs Repeal of Medical Device Tax

Friday, 22 Mar 2013 11:52 AM

By Dan Weil

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Republicans gained the support of 34 Senate Democrats Thursday in what amounted to a symbolic vote to kill a 2.3 percent sales tax on medical device makers that are part of Obamacare.

According to Politico, the language was included in an non-binding amendment to the budget resolution, meaning the tax will remain in place regardless of whether the budget resolution passes or fails. But the strong Democratic support for the measure shows opposition to Obamacare may be building.

The tax began in January to help defray $29 billion of the law’s price-tag. And the margin of the vote indicates opponents of the tax could easily garner the 60 votes needed to repeal it in a binding bill.

“The importance of this vote cannot be overstated," said Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who introduced the amendment. "For the first time, Democrats and Republicans have come together in recognizing how bad this tax is. We cannot stop here. We must continue the fight to get rid of this tax."

Not surprisingly, the medical device industry has voiced strenuous objections to the tax.

Politico reported that among the Democrats who voted for repeal were Dick Durbin of Illinois, Chuck Schumer of New York, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Most of the Democrats who backed the Hatch amendment are from states that are home to numerous device-makers.


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