- Voters in Nevada passed a measure this week that would amend the state's constitution to require its Legislature to pass a law exempting durable medical equipment prescribed to patients, such as oxygen delivery equipment, from sales and use taxes.
- Per state law, the Medical Patient Tax Relief Act will have to pass a second statewide vote in 2018 in order to become a constitutional amendment.
- The effort has been industry-led, with Reno, Nevada-based Bennett Medical Services, which makes products that would be exempt, providing the majority of financial backing, KTVN.com reported.
While it's positioned as providing relief to patients, the trade-off is the loss of sales tax revenue that supports public services including police, fire and schools.
Supporters of the proposal argued the sales tax further hurts those who are already sick or dying, whether directly or indirectly via higher health insurance premiums, the Las Vegas Review-Journal noted.
Meanwhile, opponents argued the initiative would not only reduce state revenue, but that it failed to clearly define what devices would be exempt. General examples of durable medical equipment noted in the petition include oxygen delivery equipment, CPAP machines, nebulizers, drug infusion devises, feeding pumps, infant apnea monitors, hospital beds, bath and shower aids, wheelchairs, walkers, canes and crutches.
If it passes again in 2018, it's unclear what the extent of the impact will be, because analysts said they didn't know how the terms would be defined and could not estimate the amount of sales that would be exempt, leaving the amount of revenue loss to state and local governments up in the air.