As part of the
With Pennsylvania a hub for medical device companies both big and small, GOP lawmakers like U.S. Rep.
The House voted mostly along party lines, and the
A handful of Democrats supported the repeal, including Western Pennsylvania U.S. Rep.
It's a highly politicized debate. Even GOP presidential nominee
Advocates for the tax contend that medical device businesses would benefit from millions of new government-insured customers and should help pay for the reforms. Democrat U.S. Rep.
Dent, an original sponsor on legislation to repeal the tax, spoke on the House floor in the afternoon and referenced the local company Boas, which manufactures custom orthotics, in his statement. He said the tax would threaten to put it out of business.
"And I quote, 'the medical device tax would simply destroy what's left of our company'," Dent said. " 'After giving our all we would simply have to turn out the lights, lock the doors, and send 45 employees to the unemployment lines...' ."
Senator Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat who is seeking a second term this year, said he has had "a lot of discussions" with manufacturers and others in Pennsylvania that raised concern about the tax. The state's device industry includes Synthes Inc. (SYST) in West Chester, which manufactures and sells products used in orthopedic trauma surgery, and Dentsply International Inc. (XRAY) in York, which makes dental equipment.
Based on those discussions, Casey said he wanted to revisit and perhaps do away with the tax before it is implemented.
"We've been trying to do our best to come up with some middle ground, another approach that maybe hasn't been examined yet, to get as much support as possible," Casey said in an interview, adding that the Senate probably would vote on the issue before the November election.