The legislation includes Rep. Erik Paulsen's (R-Minn.) Protection Medical Innovation Act of 2012 to overturn the nearly $30 billion in taxes on medical devicemakers, as well as a provision from Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) to repeal a measure in the Affordable Care Act that forbids using funds from tax-advantaged accounts to purchase over-the-counter medications without a prescription. And the bill contains another provision from physician Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) that would allow Americans to keep more money from their flexible spending accounts. Currently, employee balances must be spent by year's end, but this change would allow participants to cash out up to $500 in FSA balances and have those funds be regarded as regular, taxable wages.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, noted before the vote that repealing this bill would be paid for by asking those who receive higher taxpayer-funded premium subsidies to repay all overpayments. But Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who voted against the legislation, said that isn't practical.
“They got a subsidy because they can't afford it,” the Vermont Democrat told Modern Healthcare shortly after voting. “So if you're going after them to pay the subsidy they received because they couldn't afford to pay their bill in the beginning, that's a debt collector's nightmare.”
Meanwhile, the Advanced Medical Technology Association heralded the bill, saying that the legislation will protect high-wage American jobs and maintain the nation's global competitiveness.
“Medical technology companies are world leaders in the development of new medical devices and diagnostics for patients worldwide. But American leadership is at risk,” AdvaMed President and CEO Stephen Ubl said in a statement. “Our industry can be a partner in job creation and an engine for growth for our national economic recovery but public policies need to support that growth and allow us to compete on the global stage. Repealing the device tax is an important first step.”
There is no talk of any similar legislation in the Senate, and the White House on Wednesday issued a statement indicating the president would veto the bill if he's presented with it.