Minn. Democrats in bind over medical device tax 04 Jun 12

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Democrats in Minnesota’s congressional delegation are in a bind over a bill by Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen to eliminate a tax on medical devices like those made by Medtronic and other Minnesota companies.

The Democrats are under pressure to choose whether to support a key Minnesota industry or to support the federal health care overhaul. The tax on devices like pacemakers provides $29 billion over the next decade.

Paulsen says the tax endangers 35,000 jobs in Minnesota and thousands more elsewhere. His bill to repeal it has 240 co-sponsors, including 11 Democrats.

Democratic U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken support repeal.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz tells Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/LrmQHW) he’s sensitive to the industry, but considers the tax a key funding mechanism for the health plan.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.