Senators Reject Proposal To Squeeze Drug Makers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senators writing a sweeping health care overhaul have rebuffed an attempt to squeeze more money from the drug industry for medicines used by low-income seniors.

By a 13-10 vote, the Democratic-dominated Senate Finance Committee defeated an amendment requiring rebates of $106 billion over 10 years from the industry.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson wanted to use the money to close the Medicare prescription coverage gap. But it would have been on top of $80 billion in reduced fees that the industry already had agreed to in a deal with the White House and Finance Chairman Max Baucus.

Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Tom Carper of Delaware warned that squeezing drug makers harder would undermine overall support for the health overhaul.

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