Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. John McClain, R-Ariz., led a Senate fight Tuesday to cut federal catastrophic health-care premiums on the elderly that they said would cost senior citizens $8 billion over the next four years.

The two said the tax on the elderly would be forcing older citizens to help reduce the federal deficit."Seniors will be forced to pay for what they do not necessarily want or need."

Hatch and McLain introduced an amendment to delay for a year imposition of parts of the catastrophic health-care law that have not gone into effect. It would retain a provision to prevent impoverishing spouses and to provide long-term hospitalization and nursing care.

The Senate began debating the amendment on Tuesday and was expected to vote on the matter Wednesday.