House Democrat leads new device tax repeal effort

Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei has introduced a bill that would repeal and offset the medical device tax.

For months, opponents of the medical device tax have said their cause is a nonpartisan issue, and now that a Democrat has introduced a repeal bill in the House, they're starting to look right.

New York Rep. Dan Maffei has written a bill that would strike the 2.3% excise tax from the books, repealing an aspect of the Affordable Care Act Maffei voted for back in 2009.

Beyond the novelty of Maffei's party affiliation, the new bill could fare better than past efforts because, unlike any Republican-authored attempts, Maffei's plan to compensate for the $29 billion in governmental revenue the tax will bring in over 10 years doesn't involve slashing health benefits. The congressman's bill would strike down three tax incentives aimed at the oil and gas industry, which are expected to cost about $30 billion through 2023.

But that even-handedness could work against Maffei in the long run. Despite all the brow-beating over saving jobs in the medical device industry, the groundswell of support for tax repeal last year was also part of a larger effort by Republicans to kill healthcare reform by attacking its granular elements. Maffei's bill gets devicemakers off the hook, but it also leaves the Affordable Care Act unscathed, and that's unlikely to galvanize a GOP still sore over November's defeat.

Maffei said he plans to work with both parties to get the bill passed, believing he can sway Democrats by citing the effect the tax will have on a job-creating industry.

He's not the first member of his party to take issue with the 2.3% charge. Minnesota Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar introduced a similar bill in the Senate last month, but their draft doesn't account for how to make up the $29 billion.

- read Maffei's statement
- check out the bill (PDF)

Special Report: 5 Things You Need To Know About the Medical Device Tax

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