9/11 Health Bill -- Deal Reached "In Principle"

Source close to the negotiations sends the following on a deal reached in principle on the Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act  --- which COULD lead to a vote on the measure around 3pm Wed afternoon.

*Deal has been reached "in principle". *Staff to the 4 principle negotiators (Sens Coburn, Enzi, Schumer, Gillibrand) are hammering out language right now and working with the CBO to come up with a new price tag.  The 4 will meet again to seal the deal. *Tentatively, Fox has been told the price tag is $4.3 billion, down from $6.2 billion. *"It is still possible the deal could be blown up," said the source. *5-year authorization of the healthcare benefits program for the 9/11 first responders. *5-year reopening of the federal Victims Compensation Fund *Stricter cap on attorney's fees (there is now a cap but there are some exceptions - this closes all exceptions) *No double dipping - new health care program & VCF *Assurances that the program will be run in the most efficient way possible - 3 GAO studies to be commissioned on overpaying for pharmaceutical drugs; efficient health IT; and on possibly administering this program thru the V.A.