Government Shutdown

The Obamacare Shutdown Negotiations That Totally Aren't Going to Happen Proceed with Sen. Durbin Floating Concessions on Medical Device Tax

The tax has been a bipartisan sore point for a while

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Not taxing is like cutting!
Credit: afagen / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

President Barack Obama has repeatedly reiterated that he will not negotiate with Republicans to scale back the Affordable Care Act, so bring on the negotiations! Though he may not be doing so with the approval of the Democrats or the president, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), last seen actually engaging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in debate during Cruz's filibuster (and before that attempting to intimidate nonprofits and companies over "stand your ground" laws) is at least floating a possible concession. The Hill notes (and has the video interview):

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says Democrats are willing to include ObamaCare's medical device tax in a spending bill that would keep the government funded.  

"We can work out something, I believe, on the medical device tax. That was one of the proposals from the Republicans," Durbin said on CNN's "New Day" Tuesday morning. "As long as we replace the revenue so that we don't put a hole in our deficit and respond to this in a responsible fashion. That's one thing the Republicans want to talk about it. Let's sit down, and put that on the table." 

I don't think "include" is the right word in the lede there, but the point is that Durbin said (after being pressed heavily to identify an area where negotiations are actually possible) the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices enacted by the Affordable Care Act may be on the table. Sadly, from his view, eliminating the tax is dependent on finding the money from somewhere else rather than spending less money, but baby steps, sort of. Peter Suderman, looking at problematic ways Obamacare attempted to raise revenue back in April, noted that the tax's survival was in doubt.

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  1. Oh yay, Republicans are going to cave over a 2.3% tax on medical devices, and everyone gets to go home to their constituents to feed them a load of shit about how they either saved the fed. govt, or “cut taxes.”

    Business as usual, and nothing has changed.

    1. Would you rather they not get you even a crumb?

      1. Who’s that rich investor who when asked his secret answered, “I always sold too early.”?

        1. Heh…when I Googled it, it turns out they all said it.

  2. I wish the Bugs on Klendathu would aim a big rock at DC.

  3. Don’t weaken Dick. Stand your fucking ground against these ratbaggers.
    No negotiation!
    No Peace!

  4. Congress has long since nuked the 1099 reporting of inter-business transactions spelled out in the ACA. There are other bugs, like placing a federal tax on medical equipment. Knock me over with a feather.

  5. I think it was Hazel who advocated modifying the mandate to allow high-deductible catastrophic plans and making individual plans tax-exempt. That’s the kind of “small reasonable concession” we could actually get in the right circumstances. Why should Trojan horses only work in the left’s favor?

    1. Why? Because libertarian activists would rather be right than do good.

      Also, look at the comment thread this morning in response to Shikha Dalmia’s entry.

  6. Considering that 79 Senators voted earlier this year in principle to get rid of the tax, this isn’t surprising. But of course he wants to replace it with other tax revenue elsewhere.

    1. What do you want them to do, spend less or something? There’s no room to cut a single cent from the budget. It’s already cut to the bone. Nancy Pelosi sez so!

  7. For those who think Biden is an insurance policy, you have to understand something, even Dick Durbin would have made a better president than this hack we have in the Oval Office. We got the worst of all possible worlds, a Hollywood scripted fantasy of a presidency smashing up against reality.

  8. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says Democrats are willing to include ObamaCare’s medical device tax in a spending bill that would keep the government funded.

    Not good enough. Delay the Obamacare individual mandate for at least one year or leave the damned government shut down.

  9. Note that Durbin was one of the 79 votes in favor of repealing the Medical Device Tax, so it’s no wonder that he’s floating this and not Harry Reid.

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