Part of the money for Obamacare is supposed to come from a tax on medical devices. According to the New York Times, the Senate seems interested in repealing that provision, thus wiping out a dedicated funding source, which I assume will have to be replaced or the overall budget of the program decreased. Elizabeth Warren, who I believe supports the health care reform act that was passed a few years ago, is one of several liberal democrats who voted for repeal of the tax provision in a symbolic vote.
The Times implies that massive amounts spent on lobbying by the medical device industry accounts for much of the bipartisan political support for the tax’s repeal. They also imply that, in Warren’s instance, it might be a case of trying to support Massachusetts industries in a similar way that Scott Brown always voted to support defense spending, even if it was not judged necessary or fiscally prudent. Certainly the TImes could be off-base, and it doesn’t really look like Warren has received all that much in contributions from the medical device industry. Given her aggressiveness toward the financial industry, another big player in Massachusetts (State Street Corp, Fidelity, etc), it’s clear that Warren isn’t the type to be cowed by powerful constituents or lobbyists.
The senator herself has offered that this particular tax is harmful to innovation and research. Of course, even this “high-minded justification” sounds somewhat similar to the “job creators” arguments we hear from virtually every industry, and their GOP advocates, whenever taxation and/or regulation of any kind is discussed. In any event, removing a dedicated funding source has to undermine the health care law to at least to a certain extent. How do people here feel about Warren’s stance? Should the medical device tax be scrapped and another source of funding be found?