Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has filed an amendment to the Korea free trade agreement that would repeal the Medical Device Excise Tax in the Senate Finance Committee. Passed as part of the Affordable Care Act, the Medical Device Excise Tax is a 2.3% tax on Class I, II and III medical devices. Class I medical devices, most orthotics and prosthetics, were added at the eleventh hour by the House of Representatives to create more “revenue” to pass the bill through the reconciliation process last year.
The Korea free trade agreement was scheduled to come before the Senate Finance Committee late last week for a “mock markup”, but committee Republicans boycotted the hearings. There is a widely held opinion that if the three major free trade deals currently before congress are not passed before the August recess, they will likely become irrelevant as the 2012 elections approach.
OPGA Government Relations will keep you up-to-date on committee votes on repealing the excise tax. If the amendment passes the Finance Committee and is included in the Finance Committee version of the bill, the bill would go to the Senate floor for a vote by the full Senate.