House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) issued the following statement in a press release announcing the new legislation:
“It’s irresponsible to wait until next year to deliver crucial tax relief for families in 14 states and territories struggling to recover from devastating wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, and other storms. Both parties need to come together to help these communities now.
“This package delivers bipartisan relief from some of Obamacare’s most egregious taxes including ones that stifle innovation, reduce jobs, and increase the cost of families’ health insurance.
“The package also includes bipartisan negotiated reforms to redesign the IRS for the first time in two decades, and helps workers save more and earlier for retirement and for their children’s education. It includes a handful of routine minor adjustments to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, similar to the nearly 250 tax technical corrections required following the bipartisan Reagan tax reform of the 1980s.”
The legislation addresses disaster tax relief for those affected by recent storms and natural disasters, retirement and family savings, minor technical corrections to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, extensive IRS reform, and delays a number of Affordable Care Act taxes, including, most notably, a five-year delay on the Medical Device Tax. (The proposed legislation also aims to permanently repeal the Tanning Tax, halt the Health Insurance Tax for two years, and delay the Cadillac Tax for one year.)
On Dec. 5, over 140 life science organizations signed a letter to Congress urging action from both chambers to permanently repeal the Medical Device Tax. The tax has already been suspended on two occasions since its introduction, and is still scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020. And in July of this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Protect Medical Innovation Act, which specifically targets the tax. (The legislation is still awaiting Senate passage.)
“We are grateful for the steps Congress has taken to suspend the tax on two previous occasions, which provided important short-term benefits. In July of this year, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed H.R.184, the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2017, which permanently repeals the device tax, with a large margin of bi-partisan support,” the Dec. 5 letter reads. “Full repeal of the device tax would mean that the medical technology industry can continue innovating new approaches to managing chronic health issues, improving the overall quality of life, and developing technologies that could revolutionize the way we treat disease and illness in this country.”
Scott Whitaker, president and CEO of The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) had this to say regarding the potential five-year extension on the medical device tax moratorium:
“The medical device excise tax is bad health policy and bad economic policy. No one disagrees on these points. We applaud the Committee for including a 5-year extension of the moratorium on the tax in its new extenders package, and we thank congressional medtech champions Rep. Erik Paulsen, Rep. Jackie Walorski, and Chairman Kevin Brady for spearheading this piece of the bill.
“A 5-year moratorium will give companies greater confidence in planning long-term R&D—a component that is critical to maintaining the longevity of the industry and sustaining the innovation ecosystem. Future breakthroughs in patient care are undermined by the threat of the medical device tax.
“If passed by Congress and signed into law, this action will help unleash new life-changing technologies, heightened job creation, and economic growth. Most importantly, action by Congress to further delay the reinstatement of this onerous tax will help usher in the next leap forward in patient care.
“We stand ready to work with our congressional champions on both sides of the aisle and in both the House and the Senate to help ensure that this language becomes law.”