Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.), the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, on Friday announced he is a cosponsor of the Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act, a bill introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Mn.), to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers that was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
“This tax increase on medical device manufacturers is already costing Tennessee jobs, and will make it more expensive for families to afford braces, crutches, artificial hips, and almost any other kind of medical device they use. The law that was described as an effort to improve health care and reduce costs is an historic mistake that needs to be repealed and replaced with step-by-step reductions in health care costs—repealing the medical device tax is a good first step.”
The Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act would roll back the 2.3 percent tax on revenues from medical devices that went into effect on Jan. 1, with the goal of raising nearly $30 billion over 10 years.
Smith and Nephew, a medical device manufacturer with a large presence in Tennessee, announced on Friday they are laying off nearly 100 employees in Tennessee and Massachusetts as a direct result of this new excise tax.
Sen. Alexander was a cosponsor when Sen. Hatch introduced the bill in the previous Congress. He and Sen. Hatch introduced a bill in January to repeal the individual mandate in the health care law. Sen. Alexander also announced in January he is cosponsoring a bill introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) to fully repeal the health care law, saying: “I told the President at the White House health care summit that his law would increase individual premiums and it has.”