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Drug industry girds for rise in its share of health overhaul

New York Times, December 23, 2009

Facing last-minute liberal resistance in Congress, the drug industry is bracing for an increase in its share of the cost of the proposed healthcare overhaul beyond the $80 billion over 10 years that it had negotiated with the White House, industry lobbyists said. House lawmakers and Senate liberals were furious to learn in August that to win drug makers' political support, the White House and the Senate Finance Committee had struck the deal to cap industry costs at $80 billion. But the White House and the Senate nonetheless appeared to stick by the agreement, which drug lobbyists called "rock-solid." Now, after narrowly beating back some Senate proposals to extract far more and facing similar demands from House leaders, the drug makers acknowledge that they may have to renegotiate, several drug lobbyists said.