Medical device industry not alone in opposing Baucus health reform bill's $4 billion annual fee on the sector

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus's healthcare reform bill, "America's Healthy Future Act," has invoked strong opposition from Democrats and Republicans even though he spent months working with both parties to draft the bill, hoping it would find broader support than the House's reform proposal.

The chairman already has backed down on some provisions of the bill he introduced Sept. 16, but the main concern for medical device companies remains. The bill would impose a $4 billion annual fee on medical device manufacturers and importers to help raise revenue to cover the $856 billion, 10-year cost of reform.

Several senators, including Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota, John Kerry of Massachusetts, and Evan Bayh and Dick Lugar of Indiana, have spoken out against the bill, raising concerns that the fee would stifle innovation and threaten jobs. These senators represent states where major medical device companies have a strong presence.

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