July 26, 2018

House Passes Medical Device Tax Repeal

The House of Representatives passed legislation July 24 to permanently repeal the medical device tax, a revenue-generating scheme intended to help pay for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

H.R. 184, the Protect Medical Innovation Act, sailed through the House by a vote of 283–132. Fifty-seven House Democrats joined 226 Republicans in favor of the legislation. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) was the lone GOP House member to vote against the bill, introduced by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN).

Enacted via PPACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare, the medical device tax was only collected from 2013 to 2015. Last year, Congress failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, but it was able to enact legislation suspending the medical device tax through 2019. This year, the Republican majority in the House is eager to pass any additional legislation that further dismantles PPACA before its scheduled three-week recess in August.

Many GOP fiscal hawks voted in favor of H.R. 184 despite Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that full repeal of the medical device tax would result in $19 billion in less tax revenue. The legislation now advances to the Senate where passage remains uncertain.