A carefully crafted deal between the hospital industry and the White House would be ditched under a provision now being crafted by Senate Republicans.
GOP targets White House deal
Meanwhile, senators working to change a major health overhaul bill approved an amendment that ensures women would be covered for mammograms and certain cancer screenings and another that strengthens seniors' access to Medicare benefits.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a vocal critic of the White House deal, said that Republicans plan to offer an amendment that would put hospitals under the domain of a Medicare advisory panel that is charged with setting reimbursement rates.
The Senate's health reform package includes a measure that would create an independent Medicare advisory board, which would be tasked with setting provider payments, among other duties.
But under a 10-year, $155 billion deal struck with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Obama administration officials, hospitals would be exempt from those payment decisions.
Grassley said that the amendment would effectively scuttle that deal, though it's unclear who will offer the measure or when.
The Senate held its first votes on the 10-year, $848 billion health reform bill. More than 70 amendments have been offered so far, with changes to abortion language and health coverage options expected to occur in the coming days.
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