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Progress in Senate Democratic health care talks

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats say they're getting closer to pushing President Barack Obama's health care overhaul through the Senate.

The latest potential breakthrough comes after a tentative deal to drop a government-run insurance option. Instead, the health care bill may offer nonprofit health plans run by the Office of Personnel Management. There's also the possibility of opening Medicare to uninsured Americans starting at age 55.

Later today, senators will likely debate an amendment that would allow importation of prescription drugs from Canada and several other countries. It's seen as a way of holding down consumer costs.

That idea enjoys widespread support, but is opposed by the pharmaceutical industry. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has issued a letter saying it would be "logistically challenging" to assure the safety of imported drugs.

The Senate is in its second week of debate on the 10-year, nearly $1 trillion health care bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he wants to complete action on the bill by Christmas.


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