Trump is 'open' to ObamaCare fix, lawmakers say

Trump is 'open' to ObamaCare fix, lawmakers say
© Getty Images

President Trump was "open" to the idea of a bipartisan ObamaCare stabilization bill but did not make any commitments during a meeting Wednesday with a group of House lawmakers, attendees said. 

The bipartisan group of lawmakers, known as the Problems Solvers Caucus, pitched Trump on their plan to stabilize ObamaCare markets.

"He was clearly open to it, intrigued," said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a co-chairman of the group. 

Gottheimer said there was some discussion of the possibility that Democrats could call the bill a "fix" and Republicans could call it something else. 

"I'll call it a fix, others will call it what they want, but it matters less about what you call it than actually what it is," Gottheimer said. "He was very intrigued by that."

Any bipartisan ObamaCare proposal faces stiff headwinds, though, given the polarizing nature of the issue. 

Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) ran through the the details of the ObamaCare proposal from the Problems Solvers, lawmakers said. 

Trump asked whether the plan is essentially what Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Senate approves motion to go to tax conference House conservatives, Ryan inch closer toward spending deal MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Wash.) are working on in the Senate, and lawmakers said yes, according to Rep. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchTrump talks tough but little action seen on drug prices Frustrated with Trump, Dems introduce drug pricing bill Lawmakers try again on miners’ pension bill MORE (D-Vt.), who was in attendance. 

Trump did not go so far as to offer support for the stabilization idea, though. He also did not commit to continuing key ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reductions, lawmakers said, but he did not repeat his threat to cancel them either. 

The stabilization proposal would fund those payments, which are key to the health care law's stability, as well as make some other changes like repealing the tax on medical devices. 

"I think the president was open to the conversation," said Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.). 

But Reed said the group is skeptical that anything can come out of the Senate. The fear, he said, is that the Senate is "shutting down on health care."

"He was clearly listening, but he was not committal about what he was going to do," Welch said of Trump.