Sen. Klobuchar hoping for reduction in medical device taxby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she hopes the Senate will reduce the proposed $40 billion tax on medical device manufacturers, as health care reform legislation makes its way through the Senate.
In an interview with All Things Considered on Monday, the DFL senator said she will push for a reduced tax, but did not say that her vote depends on it.
The Senate Finance Committee bill includes a $40 billion tax, while the House health care bill includes a medical device tax of $20 billion.
Sen. Klobuchar is working to reduce the medical device tax in the final Senate bill.
The tax would help pay for the massive health care overhaul. The House version of the legislation passed Sunday would cost $1.1 trillion over 10 years and would extend insurance coverage to 36 million uninsured Americans.
Klobuchar has repeatedly expressed concern about the economic impact of a tax on medical manufacturers. Both 3M and Medtronic are based in Minnesota.
The senator said she has been working with the medical device industry "to make sure that we get that tax down to a number that makes sense." She did not provide a specific amount that would be acceptable.
Medtronic has been Klobuchar's eleventh largest campaign contributor since her political career began, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The medical technology company has provided $32,900 total in both individual and PAC contributions.
3M has contributed $20,100 in individual and PAC contributions, making the company the twentieth largest contributor.
Klobuchar also voiced her objection to the controversial House provision that would block the use of federal funding for insurance that covers elective abortions, but she framed the concession as part of the larger fight for health care reform.
"The most important thing was to get this health care passed," she said.
Klobuchar said she supports pre-existing restrictions on direct federal funding for abortions, but thinks private insurers subsidized by the government should be able to decide whether to cover the procedure.
- All Things Considered, 11/09/2009, 5:35 p.m.