WASHINGTON Feb 7 A bipartisan group of U.S.
senators introduced legislation on Thursday to repeal a tax on
medical devices that is part of President Barack Obama's
healthcare law, although the proposal likely faces an uphill
climb in Congress.
The tax applies to a range of medical products - everything
from bedpans and surgical tools to the expensive heart devices
produced in the home states of the senators backing the repeal.
It is among several new industry levies in Obama's 2010
healthcare overhaul law, which aims to provide health insurance
for millions of Americans who lack it.
The 2.3 percent tax went into effect this year and is
projected to raise about $30 billion over a decade to fund
extended coverage. Senators from Minnesota, Indiana and
Pennsylvania, where many big medical technology companies are
based, are among those who have been pushing for a repeal.
"In order to compete in the global economy our medical
device businesses need a level playing field," said Democratic
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, home to Medtronic Inc
, one of the biggest medical device makers.
Industry officials and supportive lawmakers say the tax will
hurt innovation and job creation.
But the law already is being implemented and was declared
constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. That and the
cost of repeal - depriving the federal government of billions at
a time of dire fiscal straits - suggest the measure to kill the
tax is unlikely to win approval.