GOP, Dems join up to repeal Obamacare’s medical device tax, again

posted at 9:51 pm on February 7, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

My first post on was about the art of repealing Obamacare. The media scoffed at the many attempts House Republicans had made in this allegedly polarizing and fruitless endeavor, which was actually neither partisan nor futile:

The fact is this is only the second vote on total repeal, the first one coming in January of 2011 after Americans elected a wave of 63 new Republicans to, you know, repeal ObamaCare. Both votes for full repeal, in 2011 and 2012, were more bipartisan than the vote to pass ObamaCare, with three and five Democrats crossing over to the Republican side, respectively. And, I know we all love when we can work together, across the aisle, to get things undone. Beyond that, many of the votes on the Washington Post’s list feature far more Democratic defectors to the anti-ObamaCare side than the other way around.

The figure 33, of course, includes all sorts of bills that were only tangentially about ObamaCare repeal, or tweaked small parts of the bill, often with Democratic endorsement and votes. It includes several bills passed with hard-fought compromise later signed by Obama, like the debt-ceiling deal, and other bills that accomplished Obama’s legislative goals, such as the payroll tax cut extension bill.

Instead, the repeal process uncovered the many fiscal fictions that bolstered Obamacare’s passage, and led to repeal of at least two onerous and unworkable funding mechanisms—the CLASS Act and the 1099 reporting requirement.

Now, the medical device tax is up for reconsideration again by — wait for it— Republicans and Democrats, making for yet another repeal attempt that’s far more bipartisan than the original passing of Obamacare.

A bipartisan group of 180 House members — consisting of about 40 percent of the House — has reintroduced a bill to end the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices that was imposed under President Obama’s healthcare law.

That tax took effect at the start of 2013, and is expected to raise a few billion dollars a year in tax receipts for the government, and $30 billion over 10 years. But opponents of the tax say it will hinder innovation and job creation in the medical device industry.

“Placing a new tax on the backs of U.S. medical innovators and entrepreneurs who employ more than 400,000 Americans is not a prescription for economic growth or job creation,” said Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.), who sponsored the bill. “In fact, companies have already laid off thousands of employees as a result of this onerous new tax, and more jobs will be lost now that this tax is in effect.

The last attempted repeal of this tax earned a veto threat from President Obama over offsetting cuts added to the bill in committee. This bill does not yet include offsetting cuts, but may get them. The cuts Obama objected to so strenuously?

Ways & Means attached language that would pay for ending the tax by requiring the government to recapture all overpayments of health insurance subsidies provided in the healthcare law. Under current law, only some of these overpayments must be returned to the government.

Overpayments of the subsidies are anticipated because the subsidies are based on prior years’ income, and if it is discovered later that a family’s income increases, some repayment would be required.

Yes, why would we want to offset this onerous tax on small companies by not overpaying on subsidies, which one would think was already a basic tenet of responsible governance. Though the bill stalled in the Senate thanks to the veto threat, it had the support of even Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. Again, more bipartisan than Obamacare.

I wrote about the medical device tax and its possible implications last year:

[M]edical device companies argue theirs is an industry with many small companies shouldering large research-and-development budgets and competing for elite medical and scientific minds.

As a result, it took Massachusetts-based Abiomed 30 years to show a profit building specialized heart pumps. During that time, the company has grown from 10 to 440 employees, but the company risks being back in the red if the excise tax goes into effect Jan 1, 2013, as planned.

Abiomed reported about $1.5 million in profit on the $126 million in sales the company realized during fiscal 2012. Had the medical device tax been in effect then, the company would have had to turn in every penny of its profits, plus another $1.4 million or so.

“None of this was allocated three years ago when we created a strategic plan to become profitable,” CEO Mike Minogue told the House Committee on Small Business last week.

Minogue testified the amount Abiomed will pay for the excise tax is the equivalent of 15 percent of the company’s research and development budget, 10 percent of its employee head count, or almost double what it spends on health care for hundreds of employees.

Let’s hope they can get some relief from this bipartisan coalition this time around, without the president’s veto threat. And, yes, of course this subtracts yet another $30 billion from the fiction that this thing didn’t add to the deficit, but most of us knew that was bunk before it passed. And it’s bunk with or without this tax.

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And it’s bunk with or without this tax.

Brevity, full credit to Willy Shakespeare, is the soul of wit (and the truth).

TXUS on February 7, 2013 at 9:56 PM

ObamaCare, pass in haste, repent at leisure.

Nancy Pelosi was unavailable for comment.

GarandFan on February 7, 2013 at 9:58 PM

B-b-but Justice Roberts said the gov’t can tax anything they want.

John the Libertarian on February 7, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Add it to the list of things to beat Juan over the head with…

gsherin on February 7, 2013 at 10:02 PM

And the bipartisan love affair continues. :-)

tommy71 on February 7, 2013 at 10:04 PM

F all those demcorat bastards who voted for this, but are now whining.

SouthernGent on February 7, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Tax life!

In more ways then one…..




Tax death…

Electrongod on February 7, 2013 at 10:04 PM

B-b-but Justice Roberts said the gov’t can tax anything they want.

But he can..
And did..

Electrongod on February 7, 2013 at 10:06 PM

Dog Eater doesn’t even know why he would veto in technical or policy terms, only that he would because someone dared to challenge him.

Bishop on February 7, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Sooner than we know we will only make enough money to pay taxes. Forget about living…

List of taxes paid by Americans. Some specific State taxes are included:


1. Accounts Receivable Tax
2. Accounting and Tax Preparation (cost to taxpayers $300 billion)
3. Accumulated Earnings Tax
4. Accumulation Distribution of Trusts
5. Activity Fee (Dumping Permit Fee)
6 . Air Tax (PA coin-operated vacuums)
7. Aircraft Jet Fuel Tax
8. Aircraft Excise Tax
9 . Alcohol Fuels Tax
10. Alcoholic Beverage Tax
11. Alternative Minimum Tax – Amt
12. Ambulance Services (Air Ambulance Services, SD)
13. Ammunition Tax
14. Amusement Tax (MA, VA, MD)
15. Animal Slaughter Tax (WI, others, Per Animal)
16. Annual Custodial Fees (Ira Accounts)
17. Ballast Water Management Fee (Marine Invasive Species)
18. Biodiesel Fuel Tax
19. Blueberry Tax (Maine)
20. Bribe Taxes (Pay If You Dare)
21. Brothel licensing fees
22. Building Permit Tax
23. Capital Gains Tax
24. California Interstate User Diesel Fuel Tax
25. California Redemption Value (Can and Bottle Tax)
26. CDL License Tax
27. Charter Boat Captain License
28. Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Fee
29. Cigarette Tax
30. Cigarette Tax Stamp (Acts) (Distributors)
31. Compressed Natural Gas Tax
32. Commercial Activity Tax (OH – for Service Providers)
33. Corporate Income Tax
34. Court Fines (Indirect Taxes)
35. County Property Tax
36. Disposable Diapers Tax (Wisconsin)
37. Disposal Fee (Any Landfill Dumping)
38. Dog License Tax
39. Duck Hunting Tax Stamp (PA, others)
40. Electronic Waste Recycling Fee (E-Waste)
41. Emergency Telephone User Surcharge
42. Environmental Fee (CA – HazMat Fees)
43. Estate Tax (Death Tax, to be reinstated)
44. Excise Taxes
45. Facility Fee (CA – HazMat Fees)
46. FDIC tax (insurance premium on bank deposits)
47. Federal Income Tax
48. Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
49. Fiduciary Income Tax (Estates and Trusts)
50. Fishing License Tax
51. Flush Tax (MD Tax For Producing Wastewater)
52. Food License Tax
53. Fountain Soda Drink Tax (Chicago – 9%)
54. Franchise Tax
55. Fresh Fruit (CA, if Purchased From A Vending Machine)
56. Fuel Gross Receipts Tax (Retail/Distributor)
57. Fuel Permit Tax
58. Fur Clothing Tax (MN)
59. Garbage Tax
60. Gasoline Tax (475 Cents Per Gallon)
61. Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax
62. Generator Fee (Recycled Waste Fee)
63. Gift Tax
64. Gross Receipts Tax
65. Habitat Stamp (Hunting/Fishing in some states)
66. Hamburger Tax
67. Hazardous Substances Fees: Generator, Facility, Disposal
68. Highway Access Fee
69. Household Employment Taxes
70. Hunting License Tax
71. Illegal Drug Possession (No Carolina)
72. Individual Income Tax
73. Inheritance Tax
74. Insect Control Hazardous Materials License
75. Insurance Premium Tax
76. Intangible Tax (Leases Of Govt. Owned Real Property)
77. Integrated Waste Management Fee
78. Interstate User Diesel Fuel Tax
79. Inventory Tax
80. IRA Rollover Tax (a transfer of IRA money)
81. IRA Early Withdrawal Tax
82. IRS Interest Charges
83. IRS Penalties (Tax On Top Of Tax)
84. Jock Tax (income earned by athletes in some states)
85. Kerosene, Distillate, & Stove Oil Taxes
86. Kiddie Tax (Child’s Earned Interest Form 8615)
87. Land Gains and Real Estate Withholding
88. Lead Poisoning Prevention Fee (Occupational)
89. Lease Severance Tax
90. Library Tax
91. Liquid Natural Gas Tax
92. Liquid Petroleum Gas Tax
93. Liquor Tax
94. Litigation Tax (TN Imposes Varies With the Offense)
95. LLC/PLLC Corporate Registration Tax
96. Local Income Tax
97. Lodging Taxes
98. Lump-Sum Distributions
99. Luxury Taxes
100. Make-Up Tax (Ohio, applying in a salon is taxable)
101. Marriage License Tax
102. Meal Tax
103. Medicare Tax
104. Mello-Roos Taxes (Special Taxes and Assessments)
105. Migratory Waterfowl Stamp (addition to hunting license)
106. Minnow Dealers License (Retail – For One Shop)
107. Minnow Dealers License (Distributor – For One+ Shops)
108. Mobile Home Ad Valorem Taxes
109. Motor Fuel Tax (For Suppliers)
110. Motor Vehicle Tax
111. Music and Dramatic Performing Rights Tax
112. Nudity Tax (Utah)
113. Nursery Registration (Buying and selling plants)
114. Occupancy Inspection Fees
115. Occupation Taxes and Fees (Various Professional Fees)
116. Oil and Gas Assessment Tax
117. Oil Spill Response, Prevention, and Administration Fee
118. Parking Space Taxes
119. Pass-Through Withholding
120. Pay-Phone Calls Tax (Indiana)
121. Percolation Test Fee
122. Personal Property Tax
123. Personal Holding Company (undistributed earnings)
124. Pest Control License
125. Petroleum Business Tax
126. Playing Card Tax (Al)
127. Pole Tax (TX – A $5 Cover Charge On Strip Clubs)
128. Profit from Illegal Drug Dealing
129. Property Tax
130. Property Transfer Tax (DE, ownership transfer between parties)
131. Prostitution Tax (NV – Prostitute Work Permits)
132. Poultry Registered Premises License (Sales License)
133. Rain Water Tax (Runoff after a Storm)
134. Rat Control Fee (CA)
135. Real Estate Tax
136. Recreational Vehicle Tax
137. Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling Fees
138. Regional Transit Taxing Authority (Trains)
139. Road Usage Tax
140. Room Tax (Hotel Rooms)
141. Sales Tax (State)
142. Sales Tax (City)
143. Sales And Use Tax (Sellers Permit)
144. School Tax
145. Service Charge Tax
146. Self Employment Tax
147. Septic And Drain Field Inspection Fees
148. Sex Sales Tax (UT, when nude people perform services)
149. Sewer & Water Tax
150. Social Security Tax
151. Sparkler and Novelties Tax (WV Sellers of Sparklers, etc)
152. Special Assessment Tax (Not Ad Valorem)
153. State Documentary Stamp Tax on Notes (FL RE Tax)
154. State Franchise Tax
155. State Income Tax
156. State Park Fees
157. State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
158. Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) Fuel Tax
159. Stud Fees (Kentucky’s Thoroughbred Sex Tax)
160. Tangible Personal Property Tax
161. Tattoo Tax (AR Tax On Tattoos)
162. Telephone 911 Service Tax (some states)
163. Telephone Federal Excise Tax
164. Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
165. Telephone Federal Surcharge Taxes
166. Telephone State Surcharge Taxes
167. Telephone Local Surcharge Taxes
168. Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
169. Telephone Recurring Charges Tax
170. Telephone Universal Access Tax
171. Telephone Non-Recurring Charges Tax
172. Telephone State Usage Charge Tax
173. Telephone Local Usage Charge Tax
174. Tire Recycling Fee
175. Tobacco Tax (Cigar, Pipe, Consumer Tax)
176. Tobacco Tax (Cigar, Pipe, Dealer Tax)
177. Toll Road Taxes
178. Toll Bridge Taxes
179. Toll Tunnel Taxes
180. Tourism or Concession License Fee
181. Traffic Fines (Indirect Taxation)
182. Transportable Treatment Unit Fee (Small Facility)
183. Trailer Registration Tax
184. Trout Stamp (Addendum To Fish License)
185. Use Taxes (On Out-Of-State Purchases)
186. Utility Taxes
187. Unemployment Tax
188. Underground Storage Tank Maintenance Fee
189. Underpayment of Estimated Tax (Form 2210)
190. Unreported Tip Income (Social Security and Medicare Tax)
191. Vehicle License
192. Vehicle Recovery Tax (CO, to find stolen cars)
193. Vehicle Registration Tax
194. Vehicle Sales Tax
195. Wagering Tax (Tax on Gambling Winnings)
196. Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) Fuel Tax
197. Water Rights Fee
198. Watercraft Registration Tax
199. Waterfowl Stamp Tax
200. Well Permit Tax
201. Wiring Inspection Fees
202. Workers Compensation Tax

Scrumpy on February 7, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Where are the Beatles when you need them. Tax man is only going to get worse as the number of takers increases and the the number of makers decreases.

Mr. Curly on February 7, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Scrumpy on February 7, 2013 at 10:09 PM


Axe on February 7, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Axe on February 7, 2013 at 10:16 PM

That doesn’t include the new 0care taxes nor the one being discussed!

Couldnt find a more current list 0_O!!

Scrumpy on February 7, 2013 at 10:19 PM

@Scrumpy Thats it? Its way too few. Don’t you think we need more? ;-)

tommy71 on February 7, 2013 at 10:19 PM

12 fricking phone taxes alone!!

Scrumpy on February 7, 2013 at 10:19 PM


Bmore on February 7, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Scrumpy on February 7, 2013 at 10:09 PM

…oh I think there are a lot more “FEES” that are not listed!

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

12 fricking phone taxes alone!!

Scrumpy on February 7, 2013 at 10:19 PM

The Obama Phone doesn’t grow on trees..

Electrongod on February 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

KOOLAID2 on February 7, 2013 at 10:20 PM

I am positive there are!! No doubt…

Scrumpy on February 7, 2013 at 10:21 PM

How could this make any sense to begin with? Corporations don’t pay taxes, they collect them from their customers, usually by increasing prices, and send it along to the government.
So we’ll pay for health care by raising the cost of health care by taxing it. The money the tax brings in will go back to the service providers and manufacturers because they’ll be forced to raise prices or fold up.

If we work on this a little we can tax ourselves rich!

They tried this with the oil companies during the Carter years and were surprised when the price of gas went up.


countrybumpkin on February 7, 2013 at 10:25 PM

Someone on RP’s forum is working on a more complete list but the one I posted has the most listed that I found, the website is defunct now tho… it was from 2010…

Scrumpy on February 7, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Bipartisanship will show up more and more on OCare.The dems are starting to sweat now that the skeletons of this bill are coming out.They own it 100%.I’m sure they are working on some plan to put the blame on Republicans.It kicks in before the mid terms and the ads should write themselves.

docflash on February 7, 2013 at 11:04 PM

How about a bipartisan repeal of the entire Unaffordable Care Act now that the government is finally admitting it will raise insurance premiums for a family of 4 to $20,000 a year because of all the required bells and whistles?

Pity no one that voted for it bothered to read it first.

talkingpoints on February 7, 2013 at 11:17 PM

Pity no one that voted for it bothered to read it first.

talkingpoints on February 7, 2013 at 11:17 PM

What would it matter had they read it? No one in Congress understands how economy works and numbers that result. Not even Paul Ryan, their “math genius”, to whom $400 Billion somehow equals $1.4 Trillion. Why would you expect anything better from idiots like Pelosi and Co.?

riddick on February 7, 2013 at 11:45 PM

Money is power.
Power Corrupts.
Absolutely power corrupts absolutely.

If you want less corruption in Government, give them less money.

The Rock on February 8, 2013 at 12:56 AM

Want to repeal Obama Care?
Let the American People feel the full brunt of the law, and then the Republicans should refuse to change anything without a full repeal.

People are screaming now.

The Rock on February 8, 2013 at 12:57 AM

Who will pay the monies we lose by eliminating this tax?

May I suggest we tax birth control pills?

More babies = more tax payers and it probably wouldn’t hurt Sandra Fluke to get knocked up.

Lonetown on February 8, 2013 at 5:01 AM

@The Rock on February 8, 2013 at 12:57 AM


Republicans should do nothing more with this garbage….they have done enough to try and “fix” it.
It is un-fixable.

The more they trim around the edges the worse it will be when it blows up our debt and borrowing even more.
and at the end, the republicans will have their hands all over something they had no hand in passing. Once again the party of STUPID.
Listen to Jindal on this one, stop being “the party of stupid”.

As much as it will hurt, let the taxes stay.
They should have left the 1099 and CLASS act in place….I thought it was a mistake to get rid of that also….for the same reasons as above.

MityMaxx on February 8, 2013 at 7:48 AM

More charades as both parties really want this massive and complete control of our lives (right down to our consciences), but need to play political Pontius Pilate by pretending to publicly wash their hands of the disaster that they created.(one played bad cop, while the other played helpless good cop)

They both know the game is that Obama won’t sign anything to stop it. This is their nuke weapon on our freedom.

Don L on February 8, 2013 at 9:22 AM

Rip it apart piece by piece. Repeal, rewrite, amend, resist.

This fight is far from over, except to the losers and whiners.
When the massive taxes begin hitting Americans.. then they think the call will be for a complete government run system?

Maybe the call will be to get rid of the whole thing! Replace it with the “Affordable Health Care Amendment Act.”

Make it a choice. If you like your ObamamCare… you can keep your ObamaCare. If you don’t like your ObamaCare… you get to choose any other care you like without any penalties.

Don’t repeal it.. just make it a choice. Americans like to choose. Even low information voters like to choose things.
Pass the “Affordable Health Care Freedom of Choice Amendment” with a simple majority and you’ve just destroyed ObamaCare.
Give tax breaks to insurance companies who can come up with new affordable plans the fastest.

There you go. A massive outcry is coming against this thing. Will the GOP be ready to take advantage of the right moment. This will be an opportunity. Will the seize it?

JellyToast on February 8, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Want to repeal Obama Care?
Let the American People feel the full brunt of the law, and then the Republicans should refuse to change anything without a full repeal.

People are screaming now.

The Rock on February 8, 2013 at 12:57 AM

Wait until that $20,000IRS bill comes due to pay for those illegals medical care…
Maybe the gov will “help them out of compassion” by making it only $15,000 until the death panels can agressive reduce expenses (America’s final solution?) and the resultant rise in estate taxes bail them out?

Don L on February 8, 2013 at 9:26 AM

@JellyToast on February 8, 2013 at 9:24 AM

I don’t think that will happen.
You can’t pick it apart and hope it dies.

The only thing they are “fixing” when they do this, are the “funding” mechanisms. i.e. taxes.

So if they remove all the taxes, then this will be great for the left because they get to keep an awful bill in place, while finding other ways to raise taxes or increase borrowing.
Then of course once all “funding” mechanisms are removed, more people will love the bill, because the get all the benefits without any of the pain.

That is why I think the Republicans should stop doing this….it will only make things worse.
Like it or not, we can’t afford this crap to not be funded, because if those taxes go away, then it will really blow up an already bad budget and debt.

MityMaxx on February 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Here is yet another issue where, if we had ANY leadership at all, they could rail and rail and rail against Obama. Instead, we have a bunch of whipped dogs that fold and slink away just because Obama stole won the election.

search4truth on February 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Don’t worry. Obama’s Secretary of Bizness will advocate on behalf of these companies.

blammm on February 8, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Once again the party of STUPID.

MityMaxx on February 8, 2013 at 7:48 AM

I prefer to think of them as the party of ruling-class complicity. There is no way they could not know that what they do, or fail to do, is destructive.

When they lose elections (via the RINO route) they still get the same pay, use the same limos, attend the same parties, get to pretend in front of the same enabling media friends, their wives use the same designers, their pensions are just as lucrative, their percs and medical care just as golden, their enabling supporters just as loyal (if whiney) and most of all, they are just as unwilling to truly oppose the destruction of America, for they are the problem!

Don L on February 8, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Mary Katharine Ham:

…a basic tenet of responsible governance.

“Responsible governance” when referring to the government is an oxymoron, Mary Katherine.

woodNfish on February 8, 2013 at 11:33 AM

So we have to use the previous year’s income to determine what to pay and if the next year you earn more you’re punished because you were over subsidized? What if you earn less? How can you ever know year to year what to expect based on a previous year. Boy talk about a potential marrige penalty from a single one income to a married 2 income household.

NHElle on February 9, 2013 at 6:42 AM