Over 30 Senate Democrats vote to repeal the medical device tax

posted at 2:41 pm on March 22, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

As I mentioned yesterday, the medical device tax that went into effect last January is just one of the many insidious job-killing measures contained within ObamaCare, but it is an especially terrible one. The 2.3 percent excise tax is meant to raise a handsome $30 billion to pay for ObamaCare over the next decade, except that, added bonus: It’s going to stifle innovation and competition in an industry that provides all manner of life-saving medical devices, from MRIs to pacemakers to blood tubes.

And this hasn’t just been a Republican refrain, by the way. Thursday night, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to repeal the medical device tax, with more than 30 Democrats joining in:

The vote was largely symbolic, but the 79-20 tally signals strong opposition to the 2.3% tax on device sales that went into effect Jan. 1. Even though the levy is meant to help foot the bill for the signature legislative achievement of President Barack Obama‘s first term, 33 Democrats as well as independent Sen. Angus King of Maine joined Republican senators in voting to repeal the tax.

The vote came as an amendment to the Senate Democrats’ fiscal year 2014 budget, a partisan tax-and-spending blueprint that stands no chance of passing the GOP-controlled House. Still, the solid bipartisan support shows growing momentum for repealing the tax, which lawmakers have argued hurts U.S. competitiveness and costs highly paid jobs.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) introduced the measure earlier Thursday with the support of nine Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

I do wonder that some of these Democrats couldn’t summon these same scruples with the health care overhaul when they were falling over themselves to pass the dang thing in 2010, though. Such a shame.

The vote may have been a symbolic one, but nevertheless, this has got to be kind of uncomfortable for the White House: Congress finally managed to find some bipartisan agreement on something, and it’s over just how stupid of a funding-mechanism idea this medical device tax was to begin with.


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