Efforts to repeal device tax stall ahead of Memorial Day break

Republican efforts to repeal the 2.3% medical device tax appear to have stalled in the Senate and any further action is unlikely until after Congress returns from its Memorial Day holiday break.

Yesterday, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin expressed his pessimism to the National Journal about lawmakers getting a package to vote on this week that contained an amendment eliminating the tax used to help fund the Affordable Care Act.

"This month comes to a close with our departure on Thursday afternoon," Durbin said. 'It doesn't look like there's any time left for it."

Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is open to amendments for the bipartisan tax extenders bill, but added that he would reject any efforts targeted at Obamacare. Last week, Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania saw his measure to repeal the device tax go down in flames.

Widely opposed by the industry, the tax has become a focal point for Republicans, and some Democrats, searching for a way to cripple President Obama's healthcare reform by turning off its revenue streams. Supporters of the tax, which is expected to generate $30 billion over 10 years, say it will pay for itself as newly insured patients become customers of the devicemakers. Opponents say those newly enrolled in healthcare plans are likely to be young and not in the market for hip replacements and pacemakers, the big moneymakers for the medical device industry.

Congress reconvenes June 2.

- read the National Journal story

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