U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken along with a bipartisan group of senators today succeeded in passing an amendment to the Budget Resolution showing strong bipartisan support for repealing the medical device tax that was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Klobuchar led the amendment, which passed the Senate by a vote of 79-20,with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Franken was a cosponsor. Klobuchar and Hatch recently introduced legislation to repeal the medical device tax, which Franken also cosponsored.
"Today's action shows there is strong bipartisan support for repealing the medical device tax, with Democrats and Republicans uniting behind our effort," Klobuchar said."I will continue to work to get rid of this harmful tax so Minnesota's medical device businesses can continue to create good jobs in our state and improve patients' lives."
"I'm committed to doing everything I can to repeal the medical device tax, which harms Minnesota's innovative medical device industry," Franken said."I am incredibly pleased that we were able to take this bipartisan step toward providing much-needed relief for our innovators, and the jobs and life-saving devices they produce for patients here in Minnesota and around the globe.
"Today, bipartisan members of the Senate spoke loudly and clearly that this tax on medical devices simply must go. It is a drain on innovation, on job creation and on our ability to provide ground breaking medical technologies to patients,"said Hatch, who serves as the Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Committee. "The importance of this vote cannot be overstated. 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 and I look forward with continuing to work with Senator Klobuchar and the other backers of this amendment and our bill to repeal this tax once and for all."
Under PPACA, medical devices are required to pay a 2.3 percent excise tax hike that will raise nearly $30 billion in revenue over 10 years, hindering industry innovation, job creation and the overall delivery of quality patient care. The tax, which took effect in January, is expected to cost device manufacturers roughly $194 million per month putting 43,000 American jobs at risk, according to the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed).
As a co-chair of the bipartisan Medical Technology Caucus, Senator Klobuchar has consistently fought for Minnesota medical device companies and has been a leader in the effort to reduce or repeal the medical device tax. During the health care reform debate Klobuchar fought to cut the tax in half, resulting in a $20 billion reduction in the tax and a one year delay in the implementation. Klobuchar also led the effort at the end of last year to delay the implementation of the device tax, and successfully secured 17 other Democratic Senators to join her in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid urging delay.
Senator Franken has been fighting against the medical device tax since it was first proposed. During the debate over the health reform law, he fought to have the tax stripped from the bill, and ultimately succeeded in getting it cut in half in the final legislation. Before the tax went into effect, he pressed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to delay implementation of the tax.