Minnesota's senators seek to end tax on medical device | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Minnesota's senators seek to end tax on medical device

Posted: December 12, 2012 - 6:07pm

Minnesota’s U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken are lined up to fight a proposed tax for medical devices. Over 10 years, a tax on medical devices could generate $28 billion to help pay for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Why the open hostility toward the proposed tax?

It seems as though the two liberal Minnesota Democrats find the proposed tax on medical devices to fly in the face of medical device industries operating in Minnesota — Medtronic, Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical.

The medical device industry has screamed foul since the tax was proposed, claiming that it would kill jobs industry wide and harm innovation and creativity.

Klobuchar and Franken are also concerned about jobs in the medical device industry, which are generally high paying jobs. Those making in excess of $250,000 would also be faced with a major tax increase on a personal level if the president’s tax on the nation’s rich is part of the fiscal cliff settlement.

The senators have asked for a delay on the decision in implementing the tax on medical devices. Why the delay?

“The delay would give us the opportunity to repeal or reduce the tax,” Klobuchar was quoted in the StarTribune. Klobuchar made the comments in a letter to Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

Repeal is the ultimate goal. But politically, that would be nearly impossible to accomplish before the year’s end.

What do the two senators hope to accomplish by delaying the implementation of the tax? It would give opponents the opportunity to find another revenue source to replace the medical device tax.

One more thing that is interesting in this whole push for delay: It seems that the Internal Revenue Service was late in sending in the rules that explain how the tax would be collected. When did the rules make it onto the scene? It seems that they were sent out just last week.

Franken told the StarTribune that he thought that was “unconscionably late.”

The House has already voted to kill the medical device tax, approving a bill offered by Minnesota Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen.

I guess when a 2,000 page bill needs to be passed by Congress in order to determine what’s in it, as former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stated before voting on the Affordable Care Act, one should expect pleas for reconsideration.

Many Americans hope the Affordable Care Act is not the death knell of the U.S. economy when placed on top of tax hikes that are looming in the event that sequestration is enforced on Jan. 1, 2013.

Keith Hansen