Senate committee puts off bed-tax vote

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A Senate committee passed a key fiscal 2007 healthcare spending bill on Thursday, but it stopped short of voting on a controversial "bed tax" provision.

Because of jurisdictional questions, senators from the Appropriations Committee failed to vote on an amendment that would prevent the administration from slashing the bed-tax rate. They said, however, they hope to offer an amended version when the bill reaches the floor of the Senate. Nursing homes reap additional revenues form the bed tax through matching government funds.

The approved bill includes about $64 billion for Department of Health and Human Services discretionary programs. Medicare would receive about $2.13 billion under the measure. That is $15 million less than approved by the House.