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Finance Committee Goes Easy on PhRMA

September 24, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate Finance Committee, which is currently marking up the Baucus health care bill, voted today to defend the secret White House-PhRMA-Baucus deal.

The vote today was on a Sen. Bill Nelson [D, FL]amendment to close the Medicare Part D coverage gap and allow states to negotiate drug fro prices dual eligibles, senior citizens eligible under both the Medicare and Medicaid programs. CBO has scored the amendment as saving $50 billion over ten years which could be used to reduce the cost of the overall bill.

But Republicans and three Democrats on the committee (Baucus, Menendez, and Carper) voted against the amendment, causing it to fail, 10-13.

Why oppose this amendment? During the debate, Sen. Carper argued that it should be opposed simply to preserve the secret deal. “Whether you like PhRMA or not,” Carper said, “we have a deal.”

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