Senate casts 1st votes to overhaul health care

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Senators have voted to safeguard coverage of mammograms and preventive screening tests for women under any health care overhaul legislation.

The 61-39 vote Thursday on an amendment by Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine would allow the Health and Human Services secretary to require insurers to cover preventive health screenings free of charge.

It comes in the wake of heated controversy over a government advisory panel's recent recommendation that routine mammograms aren't needed for women in their 40s. Although the advisers' recommendation was nonbinding, it prompted fears that the health care legislation would usher in an era of rationing.

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