KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Medical Device Tax Repeal Gains Ground

But the measure's supporters have not yet identified how they would make up for the lost revenue.

The Washington Post: Medical Device Tax Repeal Bill Gains Some Ground
Makers of medical devices are gaining some momentum in a vigorous campaign to persuade Congress to scrap a tax imposed on their industry by the 2010 health-care law. A bill to void the tax sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) will be marked up in the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday. Republican House leaders say a floor vote could be scheduled as soon as next week (Aizenman, 5/30).

Politico Pro: Device Tax Repeal Isn't Paid For, Yet
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to punt on paying for the repeal of the medical device tax during its Thursday markup, leaving a $29 billion hole that likely won't get plugged until shortly before the bill moves to the floor next week, House aides said. Even so, the committee is expected to easily pass legislation — with Democratic support — that strikes the 2.3 percent excise tax created to help fund the Affordable Care Act, aides said. But whether Democrats stay on board as the bill speeds to a floor vote depends largely on how Republicans decide to pay for it (DoBias, 5/31).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Taking Aim At Med Device Tax
Republican House members are not waiting for the long-sought decision of the U.S. Supreme Court next month on the constitutionality of President Obama's signature health care law. Spearheaded by Minnesota Republican Erik Paulsen, the GOP-led House is expected to vote next week to repeal an estimated $28 billion tax on medical device makers. While the tax is intended to help pay for the expansion of health care in the U.S., its repeal would provide relief to an industry with a major hub in the Twin Cities, home of pacemaker giant Medtronic (Spencer and Diaz, 5/30).

National Journal: AdvMed Ad Campaign Calls For Medical Device Tax Repeal
AdvaMed is launching a print and online ad campaign tomorrow urging Congress to repeal the health care reform law's medical device tax. The ad campaign, which is focused inside the Beltway, starts the day the House Ways and Means Committee is holding a markup on a bill from Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) with over 200 cosponsors--the Protect Medical Innovation Act--that would do just that. AdvaMed argues that the tax, which is scheduled to go into effect in January 2013, hurts research and development and slows hiring (Joseph, 5/30).

Also on Capitol Hill, the House easily approves the Food and Drug Administration user fee bill -

Politico Pro: FDA User Fee Bill Cleared For Conference
Not even the House can slow down the FDA user fee bill this year. In what felt like a simple formality, the House passed its version of the bill Wednesday night on a 387-5 vote. It’s now bound for a conference committee to be merged with a very similar version of the bill that passed the Senate last week, 96-1. On the House floor Wednesday, hardly a complaint was registered as Republicans and Democrats praised the rare bipartisan jewel (Norman, 5/30).

The Hill: FDA Reauthorization Bill Approved By House
A bill reauthorizing and expanding a user-fee program for drugs and medical devices was approved by the House on Wednesday, sending the bill to a likely conference with the Senate. The House approved H.R. 5651, the Food and Drug Administration Reform Act, in a 387-5 vote. The bipartisan bill is similar to a Senate-passed bill that would extend the FDA's user-fee program for generic drugs and biosimilars (Kasperowicz, 5/30).

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