Is Repealing the Medical Device Tax the Silver Bullet to End the Shutdown?

On Thursday morning a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House announced an agreement on a compromise to end the government shutdown that would link a "clean" government funding bill to a repeal of the surtax on medical devices.

The tax, which was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, is levied at a rate of 2.3 percent on manufacturers of medical devices that are not sold directly to consumers, like joint replacements and pacemakers. Earlier in the week Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said  that Senate Democrats may be willing to compromise with House Republicans on repealing the tax in exchange for passing a bill to fund the government.

Data: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to members of Congress from employees and PACs of interest groups supporting the repeal of the medical device tax as shown in bills introduced in the House (H.R. 523) and Senate (S. 232) earlier this year. Contribution date range: March 23, 2010 (date of Affordable care Act enactment) - December 31, 2012. Contribution data source: OpenSecrets.org

  • Interest groups supporting repeal of the medical device tax -- including dentists, physicians, and medical supplies manufacturers -- have contributed $39.8 million to current members of Congress.
  • Republicans in Congress have received $24.4 million from interest groups supporting the repeal of the medical device tax while Democrats in Congress have received $15.3 million.
  • House Representative Andy Harris, R-Md., has received $485,428 from interest groups supporting the repeal of the medical device tax, more than any other member of Congress.
  • The top Democratic recipient is Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa. He has received $333,984 from interest groups supporting repeal of the medical device tax.
  • Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has received $47,411 from interest groups supporting the repeal of the medical device tax.
  • Medical supplies manufacturing & sales organizations have given $5.1 million to members of Congress; $2.4 million to Democrats and $2.7 million to Republicans.

About MapLight: MapLight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that reveals money's influence on politics. If our work has been helpful to you, please consider supporting us.

Hip replacement image: National Institute of Health via Wikimedia Commons