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medical device tax repeal

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medical device tax repeal

paulsenTrumpcare passed the U.S. House, by two votes. The vote of the allegedly thoughtful “moderate” Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) was one of those that put it over the top. Reaction was swift and vehement. An op-ed subsequently appeared with his name on it. What a sniveling, impudent load of crap.
 

The bill empowers states to better design health care plans that meet the needs of their citizens. It provides a portable tax credit to assist Americans who do not receive coverage from an employer in purchasing health insurance. It enhances and expands the use of consumer-driven health care accounts, such as Health Savings Accounts, and it once and for all repeals the harmful medical device tax.
 
It is also important to point out what is not in this bill. Nothing in this bill would allow an insurance company to deny someone coverage, including to those with a preexisting condition. Nothing would allow an insurance company to cancel someone’s insurance policy should they become sick. Despite claims from opponents, the bill does not classify sexual assault as a preexisting condition. For those who maintain continuous coverage, the bill does not allow insurance companies to charge an individual more simply because they have a preexisting condition. It’s also worth noting that this bill includes $138 billion to assist states in making sure everyone, including those with preexisting conditions, has access to high-quality, affordable health care?
(Star Tribune)

– Where is your typical family these days, living paycheck to paycheck and way in debt, supposed to get money for “Health Savings Accounts?”
 
…READ MORE

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TennieldumdeeA look at what Rep. John Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) are up to, these days.
 

So when John Kline says “Let’s tell the country’s union leaders that we share your concerns and are prepared to do something about it”, he means it.
 
He does not mean that he will help workers … but he will work to strip healthcare from them. The unions wanted to expand healthcare coverage … Chairman Kline passionately disapproves. And at whose cost ?
 
The Congressional Budget Office (says the legislation Kline supports) would increase the federal deficit by $53 billion over 10 years, by pushing more workers into government-sponsored health coverage.
(MN Political Roundtable)

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. That’s clearly Erik Paulsen’s approach to undoing the medical device tax that’s part of the Affordable Care Act…
 
The industry has long complained the tax hurts innovation and leads to layoffs though the Washington Post’s fact-checker has disputed those claims, describing them as a “mischaracterization.”
 
The bill won’t just lower future tax bills for medical device companies. It retroactively eliminates the tax which would mean a refund for companies that have already paid it.
(MPR)

Paulsen didn’t get any high-profile promotions in the new Congress. I doubt that he wanted any. A lucrative lobbying sinecure with Big Device undoubtedly awaits him, whenever he wants it, though he will presumably be even more munificently rewarded if he really can get the device tax repealed or even reduced.
 
I’d be surprised if Paulsen leaves Congress in 2016; Democrats would have a real chance at an open seat in his district during a presidential year. 2018? Just speculation.
 

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ECCjan18A delay in the Medical Device Tax has been floated in the U.S. Senate as part of a deal/sellout to end the Republican/Tea Party shutdown/debt limit situation. The source article that I’m using here doesn’t lend itself to easy blockquoting; the whole, concise thing is worth a click and read.
 

You might be hearing that some Democrats are “willing to make a deal” involving the “small” ($40 billion) medical device tax. It’s a good idea to know what is going on — especially the “offset” some are talking about…
 
They have to make up that $40 billion somewhere. The proposed offset is something called “pension smoothing.” Here is how it works.
 
– Companies will be allowed to under-contribute to their pension plans for 5 years.
 
– This means these companies will have higher profits (pension contributions are tax-deductible) so they will pay more taxes.
 
– After 5 years they are supposed to make up for the under-contributing. Which means any revenue gained by the govt in the first 5 years goes away. It also means that these companies will have further underfunded their pensions and will be coming to the government for relief, etc.
(Campaign for America’s Future)

Arguably the prime force behind Device Tax delay/repeal, for years now, has been Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN). He unfortunately has acquired a lot of company, including Minnesota’s Democratic U.S. Senators. Beyond the fact that this whole thing is a terrible idea to begin with, picture the infuriating smugness that will surge forth from all things Paulsen if this happens. Nauseating, isn’t it?
 
Update: This indicates that any changes to the Device Tax are not going to be part of the deal. But, while the link is to the reliable Think Progress, its source for this is apparently Politico. So, don’t, in the vernacular, “take it to the bank.”
 

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Paulsen loses on ACA device tax

by Dan Burns on January 14, 2013 · 2 comments

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) made a big deal out of looking to repeal the proposed tax on the medical device industry, that is part of the funding mechanism for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  He was not successful, nor is he likely to be.

(Repealing the tax is) an extremely optimistic goal, according to Norman Ornstein, a congressional expert with the American Enterprise Institute. Even with comprehensive tax reform to address the deficit, Ornstein said, the goal is to add revenue to the federal budget, not take it away…

In any case, the University of Maryland’s (Don) Kettl said, the White House and most Democrats “are trying to build a deep moat around anything having to do with funding health care reform,” which President Obama considers the landmark legislation of his first term.

Because Big Device is so big here in Minnesota’s metro area, many Minnesota Democrats, including both U.S. Senators and even Rep. Keith Ellison, got on board with repeal.  That may have been seen as politically necessary, but that doesn’t make it right.  I don’t see any reason that that industry can’t kick in a little more for the greater good, especially given its reliance on government money, for example:

Boston Scientific – Awarded at least $1.94 million from 8 grants in 5 states, including $510,570 from Minnesota and $450,000 from Florida, both in the form of corporate tax breaks.

Medtronic Inc. – Awarded at least $47.6 million from 26 grants in 9 states, including $37.7 million from Minnesota, and $6 million from Texas.

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