Last night, the Senate symbolically voted to repeal yet another part of ObamaCare — the medical device tax. This provision will imposed 2.3% tax on medical devices, which could lead to the loss of some 43,000 jobs:
By a vote of 79 to 20, the Senate moved to rescind the 2.3 percent tax on manufacturers and importers of medical devices. The tax will raise nearly $2 billion in new revenue in 2013 and $20 billion over the next seven years.
Thursday night’s vote was nonbinding since it was on an amendment to a Senate budget resolution which is not likely to result in a budget plan that Republican-controlled House would agree to.
The medical device tax is one of $24.6 billion in 2013 tax increases mandated by the Affordable Care Act which took effect on Jan. 1.
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Not only would the medical device tax hit the medical industry and hurt innovation, consumers would have been hit with higher healthcare costs. The tax was even blamed for an increase in prices for pet owners at vet offices.
There has been a push inside the House of Representatives to repeal the medical device tax. The House approved such a measure last June in a 270-146 vote, but it was killed in the Senate. A group of 18 Senate Democrats had previously encouraged their caucus leader, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), to support a delay in the implementation of the tax. Reid was one of 20 Democrats to vote against repeal last night.
The budget process is a tricky right now because each chamber is so far apart in what they want. Ultimately, repeal of the medical device tax could be included in the conference process, which will take place soon after the Senate passes the final version of their budget. However, there are going to be so many other sticking points — such as the $1 trillion tax hike and perpetually unbalanced budget that Senate Democrats want — that we may not actually see an agreement hammered out, which means that last night’s vote could be meaningless.