ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Democrats in Minnesota's congressional delegation are in a bind over a bill by Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen to eliminate a tax on medical devices like those made by Medtronic and other Minnesota companies.

The 2.3 percent tax on devices such as pacemakers and stents provides a vital $29 billion over the next decade for the federal health-care plan backed by President Barack Obama. Democrats justify the tax on the grounds that the health care law expands insurance coverage to 30 million people who were previously uninsured, and with all those new patients, the industry is likely to see demand for its products expand.

But Paulsen said the tax endangers 35,000 jobs in Minnesota and thousands more elsewhere. His bill to repeal it has 240 co-sponsors, including 11 Democrats, and it's expected to get a vote later this week.

"A lot of Democrats, they're fearful to acknowledge that the new health care law has a lot of imperfections, and privately they'll tell you there's a lot of problems with it," Paulsen told Minnesota Public Radio (

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