A controversial tax on medical devices, proposed as part of the Senate's landmark health-care legislation, has been cut in half by Senate negotiators, drawing cautious praise from Medtronic Inc. and other industry leaders.

The Senate bill unveiled Wednesday by Majority Leader Harry Reid preserves the tax on industry revenues, but cuts the dollar amount by half, to $20 billion over 10 years. The dollar amount, but not the structure of the tax, now matches that in the House bill.

Statement from Hawkins

"A tax on medical device manufacturers could have untold adverse implications for innovation and jobs, and yet we accept the notion of shared responsibility," Medtronic Chief Executive Bill Hawkins said in a statement Thursday.

"We look forward to continued constructive work with members of [the House and Senate] and the Obama administration to craft a final proposal."

The original $40 billion tax, announced abruptly when the bill emerged from the Senate Finance Committee, drew stiff opposition from device makers in Minnesota, a hub for the industry, and then criticism from a bipartisan group of politicians, including Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Republican.

Stephen Ubl, a Minnesota native who leads the med-tech lobbying association AdvaMed in Washington, had special praise Thursday for members of the Minnesota delegation who pressed for the compromise.