June 7, 2012
In another assault on President Obama’s health care law, the House passed a bill on Thursday to repeal a new tax on medical devices.
The vote was 270 to 146, as 37 Democrats joined 233 Republicans in supporting the repeal. The bill appears to have little chance of approval in the Senate, where Democrats are in control, and Mr. Obama threatened to veto the measure if it reached his desk.
…The excise tax on medical devices, scheduled to take effect in January, is one of many taxes and fees imposed by Congress to help offset the cost of subsidizing insurance coverage for more than 30 million people.
…The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the tax, equal to 2.3 percent of the sale price of medical devices, will raise $29 billion in the next 10 years. The tax would apply to manufacturers and importers of devices like pacemakers and stents, defibrillators, artificial hips and knees, surgical tools and X-ray machines.
…Representative Erik Paulsen, Republican of Minnesota and chief sponsor of the bill, said: “Our country is a leader in medical technology innovation. This new tax would force many companies to lay off workers, move jobs overseas or close their doors altogether.”
…In anticipation of the tax, some manufacturers have announced plans to lay off workers or reorganize operations. The Stryker Corporation of Kalamazoo, Mich., cited the tax as a factor in plans to reduce its global work force by about 5 percent.