Medical Device Excise Tax Repeal? Not So Fast

As discussed a few days ago, the House of Representatives has voted to repeal Obamacare’s medical device excise tax. The tax itself, obviously, is harmful. However, putting this at the top of the “to do” list for the repeal effort is a curious priority.

Some conservatives are turning against the notion of repealing the tax on its own. Here’s Jeff Anderson of the 2017 Project:

But what happens when Republicans’ desire to repeal and replace Obamacare collides with their desire to provide relief to a particular deep-pocketed corporate interest?  You guessed it:  the latter wins — in a landslide.

This result can hardly be attributed to Republican members’ phones ringing off the hook with calls from everyday constituents who simply loathe the medical device tax.

But the medical-device-tax lobby is willing to throw around a lot of money — which, of course, is all the more reason to make sure that this money gets channeled toward the cause of full repeal. (Jeffrey H. Anderson, “Will GOP Senators Cave on the Medical Device Tax Like the House Did?” Weekly Standard, June 20, 2015)

Heather Higgins and Hadley Heath Manning of Independent Women’s Voice propose a half-way house:

This year, the priority should be to pass a moratorium on the medical device tax that would last until 2017. A moratorium would spare the medical device industry from immediate and near-term financial harm, while preserving the important policy principle that no special interest should jump ahead in line and be permanently out from under ObamaCare while the law exists. (Heather R. Higgins and Hadley Heath Manning, “A winning long-term strategy on the medical device tax,” The Hill, June 18, 2015)

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