Senate Votes to Repeal Device Tax

December 4, 2015

Despite a promised presidential veto, the U.S. Senate voted 52 to 47 Thursday in favor of a bill that contains a provision to repeal the medical device excise tax.

Passage of H.R. 3762, also known as the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, follows an Oct. 23 House vote of 240 to 189 to pass the measure.

Although proposals to eliminate the 2.3 percent excise tax have garnered support from both sides of the aisle, no Democrat voted in favor of H.R. 3762, which would repeal a number of other Affordable Care Act provisions. Further, two members of the GOP— Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) broke ranks and voted against the bill.

President Barack Obama has vowed to oppose any attempt to repeal parts of the ACA. “If the president were presented with H.R. 3762, as amended by the Senate amendment, he would veto the bill,” according to a White House Statement of Administration Policy.

Last month, House members were pushing for medical device tax repeal provisions to be included in a larger legislative package by the end of the calendar year (IDDM, Nov. 25). The group says the tax threatens innovation.

The House voted 280 to 140 on June 18 to repeal the device excise tax under H.R. 160, known as the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015.

Three other bills have been introduced in the House and Senate, including the Medical Device Tax Elimination Act (H.R. 1533), the Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act (S. 149) and A Bill to Repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax, and for Other Purposes (S. 844).

H.R. 1533 was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, while S. 149 and S. 844 were referred to the Senate Finance Committee. The bills have failed to get out of committee. — Jonathon Shacat