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Finance Markup Resumes; Bill’s Price Tag Now $900 Billion

Senate Finance Committee members on Tuesday afternoon completed their opening statements on a massive health care reform package and have begun working through changes to the proposal that increased its cost from $856 billion to $900 billion.

The panel’s walk-through of the recently modified bill — Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) tweaked the measure to appease Democratic concerns — is expected to take several hours. The markup began Tuesday morning, and is likely to span most of the week.

In their opening statements, Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) illustrated the deep partisan divide that has characterized this year’s health care debate. However, both Senators agreed on one thing: The Finance bill in its current form is unacceptable.

“I don’t think that the current bill does enough to make health care coverage affordable,— said Rockefeller, chairman of the Finance Subcommittee on Health Care.

Added Roberts: “Despite the rhetoric, the proposal passes billions of dollars of higher health care costs onto American families.

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