Democrats urge House leadership to consider device tax repeal bill

A group of democrats wrote a letter to House leadership, urging them to consider H.R. 160, the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2015, which would repeal a medical device tax found within the ACA. Led by Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), the legislators want the House to advance the bill before the Memorial Day recess, according to the The Hill.

The tax in question is a 2.3% tax on medical device revenue. Its original purpose was to help fund the ACA. In their letter, Peters and his fellow Democrats write that the tax undermines the future of the entire U.S. device industry, jeopardizing potential advancements in patient care.

“As members of the Freshman and Sophomore Democratic class, we made a promise to our constituents to usher in a new era of cooperation in order to restore faith in our government institutions,” they wrote. “Repealing the medical device tax is one area where we have come together with a common sense solution to ensuring job growth and continued access to innovative medical technology.”

As reported back in January, Republicans have long targeted the device tax as one part of the ACA that could easily be repealed, with one staffer describing it as “low-hanging fruit.”

On the other side of the debate, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) published an in-depth report in support of the tax in February, noting that it would cost the U.S. $26 billion to repeal the provision. The CBPP wrote that a repeal could end up costing the country even more when one considers the precedent it would set going forward.

“Repealing the tax would encourage efforts to repeal other revenue-raising provisions of health reform, as well, which would either require more painful offsets or further increase the deficit if Congress failed to offset the cost,” the report said.