'Pacemaker Tax' at Heart of Shutdown Battle

Unpopular tax may be dropped as part of deal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2013 1:36 AM CDT
The tax applies to devices like pacemakers and artificial hips, but not over-the-counter devices like thermometers.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – A tax on medical devices has taken center stage in the Washington shutdown battle, Politico finds. The 2.3% tax that critics have dubbed the "pacemaker tax" is opposed even by many Democrats, and House Republicans say they would consider a deal that would drop the delay to ObamaCare but kill off the tax, which took effect earlier this year and is a key part of ObamaCare's funding; Repeal would leave a $29 billion hole.

Some 32 Democratic senators joined Republicans in a nonbinding vote on repealing the tax earlier this year, but opponents of repeal include Harry Reid and Sen. Max Baucus, who was heavily involved in crafting the law—and wrangling with the device industry. "A deal’s a deal," Baucus said last week. "That industry contributed to a solution; they agreed to the tax, essentially, as did other industries. It’s improper at this point to go back on the deal." (Read more medical devices stories.)

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