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Finance Defeats PhRMA Amendment; Markup Continues

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday continued to work its way through more than 500 amendments to the health care overhaul, with Republicans maintaining the measure would raise costs and result in millions of Americans losing their current coverage.But despite the constant GOP criticism, Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) received a boost from panel Republicans just before lunch, as they helped him defeat a Democratic amendment that would have scuttled an $80 billion deal he cut earlier this year with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. The proposal failed, 13-10, with Baucus and Sens. Tom Carper (Del.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.) being the only Democrats to vote no.Right after that vote, Finance Republicans launched another broadside at the Baucus bill.“The markup has made it very, very clear that if you want to keep the health care coverage that you have today, under this bill, millions of Americans will not be able to,— Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said during a news conference just outside the committee room in the Hart Senate Office Building. “There’s many, many problems in the bill,— added Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.).The Finance Committee is scheduled to reconvene the markup at 2:15 Thursday afternoon. Baucus had hoped to wrap up work on the package by the end of the week.

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