Medical Device Tax Repeal Comes to Senate, Supported by Five Democrats

Senate lawmakers have introduced legislation to repeal Obamacare’s medical device tax, one of the most hotly contested provisions in the healthcare law.

Five Democratic senators and four Republicans signed onto the bill, authored by Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

The Democratic support leaves the bill just one vote shy of the 60 votes needed to prevent opponents from blocking the bill with a filibuster.

The legislation would repeal the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices, which critics say increases consumer costs and discourages innovation in the field. It was implemented in January 2013 as an instrumental part of the Affordable Care Act. The tax is supposed to rase $20 billion by the end of the decade, all of it meant to help pay for the healthcare law.

But significant opposition has made the medical device tax one of the primary targets in the GOP effort to repeal the healthcare law. President Obama has threatened to veto previous repeal efforts.