In March 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Among other things, the Act imposed an excise tax of 2.3% to the sale of any taxable medical device. The term "taxable medical device" includes an "instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including any component, part, or accessory, which is recognized in the official National Formulary, or the United States Pharmacopeia, or any supplement to them, intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, in man or other animals, or intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals, and which does not achieve its primary intended purposes through chemical action within or on the body of man or other animals and which is not dependent upon being metabolized for the achievement of its primary intended purposes." The tax does not apply to eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, or "any other medical device determined by the Secretary [of the Treasury] to be of a type which is generally purchased by the general public at retail for individual use.’’
Both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 3762 (H.R. 3762), also known as the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015. In addition to repealing several key sections of the ACA, H.R. 3762 would also repeal the medical device excise tax. Last year, Congressman Erik Paulsen sponsored similar legislation. In doing so, Congressman Paulsen noted that the tax "continues to stifle innovation, cost American jobs, and drive up health care costs despite bipartisan opposition in both houses of Congress." H.R. 3762 will be sent to President Obama for consideration; President Obama is expected to veto.