Democrats on a key Senate panel backed off from a plan for billions of dollars in new taxes on senior citizens with huge medical expenses, and defeated Republican amendments on abortion, immigration and other divisive issues, all aiming to bring a comprehensive health-care overhaul before the full Senate within two weeks. On the sixth day of debate in the Senate Finance Committee, chairman Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, declared he’s got the votes to approve reforms extending coverage to more than 30 million Americans who lack insurance. He and Republican Senator Charles E. Grassley from Iowa said they expect to finish the bill today. "We're coming to closure," Baucus told reporters. To help defray the cost of the approximately R7 trillion package, the panel agreed to modify a financing provision that would make it harder to deduct medical expenses on personal tax returns. Such are the days of our costly lives.
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