Policy

Parts of Senate GOP Health Care Bill Break Rules, Parliamentarian Says

Abortion, insurance regulations, cost-sharing subsidies would require 60 votes

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., along with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks to reporters about the path forward for health care legislation in the Ohio Clock Corridor after the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Several parts of the Senate health care bill would violate the chamber’s budget reconciliation rules, the Senate parliamentarian said in a guidance late Friday.

Provisions related to abortion, certain insurance regulations and funding the law’s cost-sharing subsidies could be struck under the so-called Byrd rule and would require 60 votes to survive.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said the Senate will take a procedural vote to proceed to debate on the health care measure early next week. It’s unclear whether enough Republican senators will vote to start debate or which version of the bill the Senate would consider. The parliamentarian's ruling is on an early version released last month.

Additionally, a provision that aims to incentivize individuals to purchase coverage and replace the health care law's individual mandate was ruled out of order with the Byrd rule.

That provision would delay benefits for six months for an individual who had gone without coverage for more than 63 days.

Notably not included in the review from the parliamentarian is a proposal from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to allow insurers to sell policies on the exchanges that do not meet the regulations under the 2010 health care law.

Democrats were publicizing the decisions, which they summarized in a document linked within a press release.

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