GOP Weighs Ending Health Care Filibuster After Democrats Win Procedural Vote

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Senate Republicans are considering relenting in their fight against the health care overhaul bill and allowing a final vote before Christmas Eve, after Democrats prove they have the 60 votes necessary to pass the legislation, Republican senators and staffers say. In an early 60-40 vote, the Senate approves a motion to cut off debate on Senate Majority Leader Reid's manager's amendment to the health care overhaul bill (H.R. 3590), setting the stage for the bill to roll to completion before lawmakers break for the holiday. Tax-exempt hospitals face less onerous requirements regarding how they bill low-income patients under revised language in the manager's amendment to H.R. 3590, health care attorneys say. The new bill language would allow charitable hospitals to charge patients who qualify for financial assistance according to the amount generally billed by the hospital rather than the lowest amount charged to insured patients, the attorneys say.