Klobuchar, Franken, bipartisan group of senators introduce bill repealing medical device tax

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken along with a bipartisan group of senators today (Thursday, Feb. 7) announced legislation to repeal the medical device tax that was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Klobuchar authored the Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Franken cosponsored the legislation along with five other senators.

“In order to compete in the global economy our medical device businesses need a level playing field,” said Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation will help ensure our medical device manufacturers can continue to advance the pioneering technologies that save lives and create good jobs in Minnesota.”

“The medical device industry has created tens of thousands of good-paying jobs in Minnesota and 400,000 nationwide—and helps save countless lives every year,” said Franken. “I’ve fought against this tax since it was proposed. And I am cosponsoring this legislation to repeal the medical device tax so we can ensure that this important industry continues to create jobs and produce life-saving devices. I will fight to get this bill passed and to find a bipartisan offset to replace the revenue from the tax.”

“Simply put, this is an anti-competitive tax that pulls the rug out from underneath American innovation and job creation,” said Hatch. “Whacking medical device manufacturers with a near $30 billion tax hike stifles the development of life-saving medical devices with high costs that will, ultimately, be passed on to consumers. It’s just plain, bad policy and should be fully repealed.”

Under PPACA, medical devices ranging from surgical tools to bed pans are required to pay a 2.3 percent excise tax hike that will raise nearly $30 billion in revenue over 10 years, hindering industry innovation, job creation and the overall delivery of quality patient care. The tax, which took effect in January, is expected to cost device manufacturers roughly $194 million per month putting 43,000 American jobs at risk, according to the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed).

As a co-chair of the bipartisan Medical Technology Caucus, Senator Klobuchar has consistently fought for Minnesota medical device companies and has been a leader in the effort to reduce or repeal the medical device tax.  During the health care reform debate Klobuchar fought to cut the tax in half, resulting in a $20 billion reduction in the tax and a one year delay in the implementation.  Klobuchar also led the effort at the end of last year to delay the implementation of the device tax, and successfully secured 17 other Democratic Senators to join her in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid urging delay.

Sen. Franken has been fighting against the medical device tax since it was first proposed. During the debate over the health reform law, he fought to have the tax stripped from the bill, and ultimately succeeded in getting it cut in half in the final legislation.  Before the tax went into effect, he pressed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to delay implementation of the tax.

Additional cosponsors to the Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act include Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).


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