In January, a 2.3% excise tax on medical devices, a key provision of ObamaCare, took effect. The measure is expected to raise around $30 billion to help pay for Obama’s health program. Opposition to the tax has been growing, however. Late Friday, the Senate voted 79-20 to repeal the tax. The vote to repeal the tax attracted 34 Democrats, almost two-thirds of the caucus.
Like all amendments to the budget, the measure is non-binding. Still, it signals strong bi-partisan support to roll back the ObamaCare provision. Sen. Orrin Hatch, who introduced the amendment, has also introduced a stand-alone bill to repeal the tax. MN Dem Sen. Amy Klobuchar and eight other Democrats joined Hatch’s amendment as co-sponsors.
“We cannot have taxes that put as at a competitive disadvantage” against the rest of the world,” Klobuchar said. If only she and her fellow Democrats applied that principle to a host of other issues.
Importantly, however, both Majority Leader Reid and Sen. Max Baucus, Chair of the committee that drafted the tax, voted to maintain the device tax. Despite the overwhelming support to repeal the tax, it will be dificult to get a bill through the Senate without their support.