U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) applauded Senate passage of an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Resolution that calls for repealing the $29.1 billion Medical Device Tax, an onerous new excise tax on medical devices that took effect January 1 as part of President Obama's health care law. The Senate voted 79-20 in favor of the amendment, which was introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
Prior to Thursday's vote, Senator Ayotte took to the Senate floor to speak against the device tax and echoed the message she's heard repeatedly from New Hampshire medical device companies across the state.
"The Senate's vote reflects overwhelming bipartisan opposition to the onerous medical device tax," said Senator Ayotte. "Medical device manufacturers across New Hampshire have told me this tax will make it harder for them to invest and grow, and could result in job losses. I've worked for over two years to roll back this tax on innovation, and I will continue to fight for its repeal in the Senate."
Senator Ayotte has long supported repealing the tax, which threatens New Hampshire jobs and stands to increase costs for consumers. During the last Congress, she backed a similar amendment to the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, as well as a stand-alone bill, the Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act (S. 17) which Senator Hatch introduced to repeal the tax. Senator Ayotte helped reintroduce the stand-alone legislation (S. 232) earlier this year.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that several medical device companies have notified hospitals that they are implementing new surcharges and price increases to cover the costs of the device tax. Medicare's Chief Actuary has estimated that the tax will increase national health care costs by $18.2 billion in 2018. A 2011 study estimates that the tax threatens 43,000 jobs nationwide, and could result in $3.5 billion in lost wages. New Hampshire is home to about 50 medical device companies employing nearly 3,500 people.