Will The Patients' Bill Arrive Alive?

Democrats made sure the MCCAIN-EDWARDS-KENNEDY bill reached the Senate floor first. But many Republicans hope to modify it with large chunks of the rival BREAUX-FRIST-JEFFORDS bill (or kill it outright with amendments). Kennedy will have to budge on some issues--like whether the bill will pre-empt state laws. Bush hopes the bill gets weakened before it reaches the conference committee, leaving room for compromises he wants.

--By Mitch Frank

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