The Subcommittee on Health Care of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee held a hearing last week “A Fresh Look at the Impact of the Medical Device Tax on Jobs, Innovation, and Patients” to highlight the urgent need for repeal of the medical device tax. A number of industry and patient advocates gave testimony about its negative effects.
The subcommittee was led by Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and was convened to consider the impact of the medical device tax on the national economy, industry, and patient care.
The hearing featured compelling testimony by Bruce Heugel, senior vice president and CFO of B. Braun Medical, Quinton Farrar, a former employee of Smiths Medical, and from patient advocates Mark Judge and Alyra Donisvitch, who both spoke about the importance of medical technology in treating their medical conditions.
Indications are that the House Ways and Means Committee is considering advancing device tax repeal legislation in late May or early June, although the situation remains fluid. But broader legislative vehicles should continue to be pursued if we are to effect repeal.
The device tax has long been identified as a target and legislation to repeal it (S 149, Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act) has been sponsored by Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT). The repeal bill has 30 Republican and 5 Democratic co-sponsors, including ranking minority member Stabenow.