ACA Funding Threatened by House Committee Vote
HR 5842 gained easy approval with three Democrats—Rep. Kind, Rep. Berkley, and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY)—voting in favor of the bill.
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House majority leader, has placed HR 436 and HR 5842 on his priority list for quick votes and they are expected to hit the House floor sometime this week. As of May 31, HR 436 had 240 co-sponsors but only a handful of Democrats had signed on to the bill. HR 5842 had seven co-sponsors all Republicans. Like several bills passed in the Republican House, HR 436 and HR 5842 are not expected to see a vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
If a medical device bill does come to a Senate vote, it will place some high-profile Democratic senators in the difficult spot of possibly voting to dismantle part of the payment structure for ACA. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn), for example, is on record as supporting healthcare reform. But Minnesota is home to Medtronics, the giant medical device manufacturer, which has already estimated that taxes would cost the company $125 million in 2013. The senator's website notes that he will "be fighting hard to continue to further reduce the unfair burden on the medical device industry."
Efforts to reach Department of Health & Human Services officials for comment were unsuccessful Friday.
Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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