House Republicans push for tax repeal vote

On the heels of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) withdrawing his tax repeal amendment, House Republicans are planning to push for a vote on their bill to strike the 2.3% charge, MassDevice reports.

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), the bill's sponsor, told Minnesota Public Radio that GOP leadership is aiming to get the bill up for vote as soon as early next month, and with 235 representatives pledging support, they have the votes to get it passed, despite recruiting only 8 Democrats.

It's the latest development in the efforts to get the tax--part of the Affordable Health Care Act--off the books before it kicks in in 2013. In the Senate, Republicans had planned to attach a tax repeal amendment to the user fee reauthorization bill moving through Congress, but Hatch and his co-sponsors decided against prolonging that process, instead promising to attack the tax "in another vehicle."

The Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance estimates that the tax will cost the industry $30 billion over the next decade, and some devicemakers have started slashing jobs and spending to prepare for the 2.3% charge. Boston Scientific ($BSX) predicts it will lose $100 million to the tax next year, and Medtronic ($MDT) is bracing for a $175 million hit. Stryker ($SKY) is preparing to layoff 1,000 employees, and Zimmer ($ZMH) is looking to shed 450.

In the industry, the repeal effort has drawn broad support in Washington and from states with local devicemakers. So far, 5 governors have spoken out against the tax, and Mitt Romney has introduced the issue into his presidential campaign.

- read the ​MassDevicestory