The Latest: Abortion restrictions in health bill questioned

The Latest: Abortion restrictions in health bill questioned

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Republican attempts to overhaul the nation's health care laws (all times local):

6:40 p.m.

Democrats say the Senate parliamentarian has decided Republicans would need 60 votes to keep anti-abortion provisions in their health care bill.

That could mean a further blow to the bill's prospects, because Republicans would be unlikely to have enough votes to keep those restrictions in the bill. It is unclear if conservatives would continue supporting the bill without the abortion restrictions.

Republicans say the information from the parliamentarian is guidance only and subject to change.

According to Democrats, the parliamentarian has also said language providing Medicaid savings to upstate New York counties would need 60 votes to survive. Democrats say that might mean that provisions providing extra money to some other states could be vulnerable.

Republicans have a 52-48 Senate majority.


12:30 p.m.

The American Medical Association is telling senators it's time to stop trying to repeal and replace "Obamacare."

The nations' largest doctors group says the Senate should start working instead on improvements to the health system that would increase patients' access to quality care.

The AMA made its recommendations in a letter Friday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

It comes as the Senate GOP is struggling to make good on years of promises to get rid of former President Barack Obama's law. Talks are ongoing and a vote is possible next week on a reworked bill.

The AMA letter says that revisions thus far have failed to correct the core problem in the GOP approach, which is that it would cause millions to lose health coverage.


9:15 a.m.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz says he believes there is still a path to getting a health care bill passed, despite "a handful of holdouts."

Cruz told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" on Friday that "we've got to deliver now. There is a path to yes."

That path, however, is far from clear. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell postponed consideration of a GOP bill again this week after it fell short of the number of votes needed to pass. Republicans remain divided on the issue, and Democrats are unanimously against efforts to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's signature health care bill.

Cruz says President Donald Trump's message to lawmakers on health care is clear: "Get it done. Stop messing around." He adds: "I think that can happen."

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