(Scott Applewhite / AP)

Senate Republicans have a new headache. They don't want any money in the GOP health care bill to be used for plans that cover abortions, but the restrictions in the House version may not pass Senate rules. And since members don't want to create a new health care tax credit that isn't explicitly pro-life, they may just have to work within the current Affordable Care Act premium subsidy structure, according to three GOP Senate aides.

They'll still try to convince the parliamentarian that the anti-abortion restrictions comply with budget rules, and some Republicans remain optimistic that they'll win. But members were warned at their working group meeting on Tuesday that things aren't looking good and given the alternative options.

Public optimism: "I think they're still having this conversation with the parliamentarian, but I think everybody — and I think wisely so – is sort of gaming out how we deal with all these various issues" that may violate Senate rules, Sen. John Thune, the No. 3 Republican leader in the Senate, told me.

The response: Republicans "basically told McConnell to argue better" in persuading the parliamentarian that the anti-abortion restrictions should stay, a senior GOP aide said.

Sound smart: It's unclear how the ACA premium subsidies could be tweaked to be made more conservative or cost less money, but Republicans have said the way they're currently structured encourages insurers to charge higher premiums. Still, keeping the ACA subsidies is a serious option for Plan B.

Here's how different they are:

  • ACA premium subsidies are based on income, geography and the cost of a benchmark exchange premium.
  • The House bill's tax credits vary by age and phase out for higher-income people.

Plan C: If both of the other options fail, the third option is to end all tax credits and instead put $500 billion into the Children's Health Insurance Program, according to a senior GOP aide.

  • Fun fact: When I asked whether this was a joke, the aide said, "That's what several members asked."

Go deeper

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87, the Supreme Court announced Friday evening.

Why it matters: Ginsburg had suffered from serious health issues over the past few years. Her death sets up a fight over filling a Supreme Court seat with less than 50 days until the election.

NYT: White House drug price negotiations broke down over $100 "Trump Cards"

President Trump with Mark Meadows, his chief of staff, on Sept. 3 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Negotiations on a deal between the White House and pharmaceutical industry to lower drug prices broke down last month after Mark Meadows, the president's chief of staff, insisted that drugmakers pay for $100 cash cards to be mailed to seniors before the election, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: Some of the drug companies feared that in agreeing to the prescription cards — reportedly dubbed "Trump Cards" by some in the pharmaceutical industry — they would boost Trump's political standing weeks ahead of Election Day with voters over 65, a group that is crucial to the president's reelection bid, per the Times.

In photos: Virginians line up for hours on first day of early voting

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In some parts of Virginia, people waited in line up to four hours to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting, according to the Washington Post.

The big picture: The COVID-19 pandemic seems to already have an impact on how people cast their votes this election season. As many as 80 million Americans are expected to vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, told Axios in August.