Franken, Klobuchar and Pawlenty back medical device industry

Alex Robinson

An unlikely trio is putting partisanship aside to support the medical device industry, according to the Washington Post.

Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty are working to fight off a proposed $40 billion fee on medical device makers over the next 10 years. The medical device industry plays a key role in Minnesota’s economy.

Earlier this year, the medical device companies, whose products range from $3,000 heart stents to $30,000 implantable defibrillators, refused to offer direct financial concessions to help pay for health-care reform, according to the Post.

This angered democrats in the Senate Finance Comittee, prompting them to pass the levy, which would collect $4 billion annually from the $130-billion-a-year medical device industry. Supporters of the fee say that medical devices are one of main reasons for expensive health care costs.

But opposition says the fee will hurt an important industry.

"The issue here is that these are very good jobs in our state and in our country," Klobuchar said in an interview with the Post, acknowledging that she is among a group of "strange bedfellows" rallying around the industry. "You want to be very careful when you start assessing taxes on an industry like this."