by Julia Cohen
A bipartisan majority in the House voted to repeal President Barack Obama’s 2.3 percent medical device tax Tuesday.
The repeal passed 283-132, with 57 Democrats and all but one Republican voting in favor. North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones was the sole Republican against the bill.
“Minnesota’s innovators can breathe easier since we’re one step closer to ending the medical device tax for good,” Minnesota Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, the bill’s sponsor, said in a Tuesday press release. “Today’s vote shows strong bipartisan support for lifting this burden on innovators in an industry so important to Minnesota. I’m more optimistic than ever we’ll be successful in giving these job creators the certainty and predictability they need to thrive.”
The repeal will reduce federal tax revenue by about $22 million over the next 10 years, according to a Wall Street Journal article.
The tax was temporarily rolled back in 2016, and Congress extended the rollback to 2020. Paulsen’s bill makes the repeal permanent.
“This bipartisan legislation will make healthcare more affordable and ensure Americans have access to the most innovative life-saving and life-improving medical technology,” Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted Tuesday.
Good news→ The House just voted to repeal Obamacare’s Medical Device Tax. This bipartisan legislation will make healthcare more affordable and ensure Americans have access to the most innovative life-saving and life-improving medical technology.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) July 24, 2018
Despite bipartisan support, some senators are unsure if the bill will make it to the Senate floor by the end of 2018.
“I have supported that [bill] and will wait to see what happens,” Minnesota Democratic Sen. Tina Smith told TheWSJ.
The medical device tax was originally passed through Obamacare in order to raise revenue for expanding health care coverage.
Some Democrats opposed repealing the tax because it would add to the federal deficit.
“We devised the Affordable Care Act so that it could be paid for and we would not have to add to the deficit,” New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell said on the House floor Tuesday.
“We knew we had to pay for this. That’s what health care is all about. And that’s why you guys on the other side, you people, have not come up with an alternative because you don’t know how to pay for anything,” Pascrell said.
The bill will need 60 votes to pass in the Senate. It is unclear if enough Democrats support the measure for it to pass.
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