What’s the GOP Planning for the Medical Device Tax Under Trump?


Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election increases the likelihood the medical tax will be repealed in 2017.

However, the precise legislative path for repealing Obamacare’s device tax is “hard to know,” a key Republican lawmaker on the issue recently told me.

Congress should act quickly, in a bipartisan way, on repealing the tax after Trump’s inauguration “to show we’re about results,” Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) explained. Republican lawmakers could decide to repeal the tax through a new bill in 2017 or attach such language to other legislation, such as a measure replacing the Affordable Care Act, to get rid of the tax, Paulsen told me Nov. 9.

The 2.3 percent medical device tax, which has caused great consternation for the device industry since it was passed as part of the Affordable Care Act, was suspended for 2016 and 2017 and is set to go back into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

Paulsen, in addition to representing part of the device hub in the Minneapolis area, is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and in January 2015 introduced the Protect Medical Innovation Act (H.R. 160). That bill would repeal the device tax. The House passed Paulsen’s legislation in June. However, the Senate never voted on a related bill, the Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act (S. 149), which Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced in January 2015.

Comprehensive corporate tax reform also presents another opportunity for repealing the device levy, health-care financial analyst Brian Rye recently told me. The chances of such a long-discussed tax reform effort succeeding increase with Republicans controlling Congress and the presidency, Rye noted Nov. 9. Rye is senior government analyst for health care at Bloomberg Intelligence in Washington.

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