Trump's health care message to senators: Get it done

Lance Nichols
June 20, 2017

Trump discussed the healthcare bill at a White House lunch he hosted for Republican senators in a bid to help the lawmakers find common ground to move forward with healthcare reform legislation this summer.

The alliance becomes more crucial as Senate leaders struggle to build conservative support for an emerging bill that has yet to win over hard-right Sens.

President Trump told Republican senators Tuesday that the House GOP health-care bill was "mean" and he expects the Senate to "improve" the legislation considerably, according to several Republicans familiar with the gathering.

Trump reportedly talked about having a bill come out of the Senate that protects people with preexisting conditions and having a tax credit that works for low income elderly Americans, according to the story originally reported by the Associated Press.

During the portion of the lunch open to reporters, Trump told the lawmakers their healthcare bill would need to be "generous" and "kind". "I appreciate what you're doing - to pass a phenomenal bill for the people of our country", Trump said with media in the room.

Moderates, including Capito, have held great sway in the discussions as Senate leaders worked to secure the 50 votes necessary to pass a health-care bill.

"Alexander told Murray that the HELP Committee" did have a hearing, "late January, early February", and added: "We had terrific witnesses".

Rank-and-file Republicans, including Lindsey Graham of SC and Jeff Flake of Arizona, say they don't know what's in an emerging Obamacare replacement that's been under negotiation since the House passed its version in early May. They also released a statement that two million people who signed up for exchange coverage this year have dropped out due to cost, lapsing or never making a premium payment on their plans.

Hatch said, "We're not going to ignore anything".

One GOP Senate aide said there wasn't a lot of substance in the meeting.

It's unclear when the Senate will have legislation ready, but GOP leaders have indicated they hope to vote on legislation by July 4, only a few weeks away. The white men in suits cheered while Trump spoke as if they had just written the Magna Carta.

"Well, I think we're not anxious so much about that as we are getting it together so we can get a majority to vote for it", said Hatch, a grandee who has served in the Senate for 40 years.

Their descriptions of Trump's words differed slightly and they said the president did not specify what aspects of the bill he was characterizing.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to comment, telling reporters aboard Air Force One Tuesday evening, "We don't comment on rumors or private conversations".

In an embarrassing retreat, Ryan had to abruptly cancel a March vote on the House measure after a revolt against it by Republican conservatives and moderates that would have ensured its defeat.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the push to replace Obamacare might need to include more funding, as Senate Republicans struggled to produce an alternative to the healthcare law.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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