As you’re popping the champagne to celebrate today’s three-year anniversary of Obamacare (not to celebrate, to drink yourself into a stupor), take a moment to remember one of the awful law’s most awful provisions: the medical devices tax. The levy amounts to 2.3% on the sale of every device, an equivalent of a 15% tax on profits. In anticipation of the tax, investment in the medical equipment industry tumbled 13% in dollars and 15% in deals in 2012, according to Pricewaterhousecoopers.
Now even some Democrats have had enough:
A Senate amendment to repeal a tax on medical device sales got overwhelming support late Thursday, but it appears the resolution will have little impact since the measure is part of the Democratic-controlled body’s 2014 government spending plan and is unlikely to be passed by the House. …
The measure, which calls for the repeal of the 2.3% tax, got overwhelming support in a 79-20 vote, including 33 Democrats who voted with Republicans. The tax was created as part of the 2010 health-care overhaul in order to help fund several of the initiatives laid out in the bill.
Alarm bells should be sounding in House Republican offices: whatever the final budget looks like, make sure a repeal of the medical devices tax is included. The only reason for the tax in the first place was to bolster the fantasy that Obamacare was deficit-neutral. It’s now clear that Obamacare won’t be deficit-neutral even with the tax. So there’s not a single political or policy reason for Congress to let it stand.
In related news, the FDA has mericifully decided not to tax smartphones as medical devices.