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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Medtronic And Professional Bribery

Category: Erik Paulsen
Posted: 07/12/15 13:27

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Erik Paulsen (and the rest of the MN delegation for that matter) defends his quest to repeal the medical device tax by using rhetoric that refers to companies like Medtronic as victims of the ACA.

But it is hard to take that seriously when you read things like this:

New federal data show that Medtronic continues to pay millions of dollars to doctors whose research on a controversial spinal product has come into question. The Minnesota-run company's spine division, Medtronic Sofamor Danek, paid $60.7 million in royalties to 79 doctors and their affiliates in 2014, according to the data. That includes money that went to the authors of disputed studies of the back pain treatment Infuse, a product that has sparked hundreds of patient injury lawsuits.

Here we have a company that whines about the "onerous" medical device tax, yet has millions to pay out in lobbying and millions more to pay out in professional "bribery".

What is the Paulsen perspective on that?

And these payments (excuse me, "royalties";) are being paid to doctors while the product, Infuse, is under fire....

More than 6,000 patient-injury claims have been filed in court or are awaiting filing, securities filings say. Medtronic has paid an average $23,000 per case to settle 950 cases, and set aside another $140 million for future legal costs.

That's a lot of money, right? But not in comparison to this:

Sales of Infuse exceeded $4 billion from 2002 to 2011.

Yet, Medtronic and the other device manufacturers (and all of them make these payments to doctors) insist that they cannot "afford" to pay this "unfair" and "onerous" medical device tax.

Maybe they should just pretend that the device tax is another of their questionable devices and set aside a few hundred million for future "payments".

Has Paulsen ever addressed Medtronic's actions in this regard? How does he justify repealing the tax and offering no revenue offset, which would force taxpayers to cover the gap, and not telling those same taxpayers that he defends an industry which routinely bribes doctors and settles lawsuits rather than recalling the product?

Where's THAT explanation?
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Erik Paulsen - Fiscal Responsibility?

Category: Erik Paulsen
Posted: 06/19/15 11:16

by Dave Mindeman

The Medical Device Tax repeal passed the House (again), and Erik "Mr. Fiscal Responsibility" Paulsen says.....

Regardless, at least for today, Paulsen was all smiles. The pay-for "wasn't a hang-up in the House and it won't be a hang-up in the Senate whatsoever," he said.

By "pay-for", Paulsen is referring to a revenue offset for the loss of tax dollars that would happen if the Device Tax is repealed. Paulsen has NEVER offered any kind of offset....never. As it moves into the Senate, the new Republican controlled Senate, Paulsen expects, even hopes, that that deficit hole continues.

That seems to be the new definition of Republican fiscal policy.

Of course, the GOP hopes that the Supreme Court shuts down Obamacare.. although a number of GOPers are starting to realize that if Obamacare goes away, they have to figure out the aftermath. With control of both the House and the Senate, they will be held responsible for all of those people who will lose their health insurance.

But in Paulsen world, none of that matters. His corporate sugar daddies have one focus - the Device Tax. Therefore, Paulsen has one focus. The same thing. Why worry about budgets and offsets and replacement money.

That's for people who care about balanced budgets and paying for things.

Rep. Erik Paulsen doesn't do that.
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On Device Tax, Paulsen Prefers Status Quo Than Actual Movement

Category: Erik Paulsen
Posted: 06/03/15 11:04

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Erik Paulsen is feeling good about his Medical Device Tax repeal....

"I feel real good [about] moving it through the House, and the fact that there's new Senate leadership that is interested in bringing the bill forward, at some point -- I feel good about actually clearing the hurdles to move this bad policy to the president's desk," Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Minnesota Republican, told MarketWatch.

There is always this one nagging problem.....

Paulsen's bill does not include a way to make up for revenue that would be lost from repealing the tax. The congressional Joint Economic Committee says doing so would reduce revenues by $26.5 billion from 2016 through 2025.

Paulsen has been promoting this repeal since it was instituted. But in all that time he has never put together a way to replace those revenues. But here is what he says to address that....

The congressman defended the measure's lack of a so-called budget offset, noting lawmakers have approved unpaid-for tax "extenders" in the past. He added it is possible that Republican leadership may include an offset.

Yeah, Congress does this irresponsible method of budgeting all the time. Let the leadership figure it out. That way, Paulsen gets a pass on responsibility. Isn't Congress something? Isn't Paulsen something?

Paulsen is optimistic. Funny, he has all the Minnesota Democrats on board and he even has Sen. Elizabeth Warren supporting it (Boston Scientific is in Massachusetts). And yet, it still isn't law.

It will probably pass the Senate this time around...but getting Obama to sign it will require a pesky revenue offset. And Paulsen doesn't seem to have the political cajones to recommend something.

It's easier to be the guy who gets the credit for promoting the bill. To be the "champion" of the Medical Device industry. Finding a revenue offset would mean taking an actual position that could draw criticism.

That would take a bit of political courage....and we know that Erik Paulsen has none of that.

Status quo, Paulsen, status quo.
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