Heck Statement on Medical Device Tax Repeal
Harmful tax would increase costs for patients, result in decreased access to care
WASHINGTON - As House Republicans continue to repeal harmful, job-killing provisions contained in the health care law, Congressman Joe Heck (NV-03) today released the following statement on House passage of H.R. 436, the Protect Medical Innovation Act.
"The House has taken another important step in the continued effort to repeal the dangerous provisions of the health care law. As a physician, I believe we should be looking for ways to make medical care more affordable and easier to access. The medical device tax would have the exact opposite effect," Rep. Heck said. "This tax increase would result in higher costs for medical device manufacturers which would be passed on to patients in the form of more expensive medical bills. Increased costs for doctor and hospital visits will widen the access to care gap even as individuals and families are struggling to keep pace with current skyrocketing health care costs."
The Protect Medical Innovation Act repeals the 2.3% tax on medical device manufacturers that was projected to increase taxes by $28.5 million between 2013 and 2022. In addition, the bill restores the ability to use tax preferred health accounts (HSAs, FSAs) for over-the-counter medicines without a prescription and allows for the payout of unused Flexible Spending Account (FSA) balances, up to $500, at the end of a plan year, as ordinary wages.
Rep. Heck, a physician, voted to repeal the health care law's Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a board of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats tasked with identifying cost savings in the Medicare program. The IPAB would decide what types of services and care seniors on Medicare could receive, therefore threatening access to care.
In addition, Rep. Heck has introduced legislation, the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act, to repeal the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula which is used to determine payments for physicians’ services under Medicare. For over a decade, the formula has threatened to impose steep cuts in Medicare payments for care provided to America’s seniors.
Finally, on the second anniversary of passage of the health care law, Rep. Heck introduced a bill aimed at repealing the onerous regulations in the law that hurt individuals and businesses, repairing the elements of the law that have merit, and replacing the broken pieces of the law with reasonable and truly affordable reforms. The Ensuring Quality Health Care for All Americans Act tackles critical health care issues that matter to Americans, without adding bloated federal programs, raising taxes, or cutting $500 billion from Medicare.
This month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Following their decision, Rep. Heck's bill will be among options House Republicans may potentially use to respond to the ruling.