Trump met Senate Republicans on ObamaCare fix

Trump met Senate Republicans on ObamaCare fix
© Greg Nash

A group of Republican senators met with President Trump at the White House on Thursday to push him to support a bipartisan ObamaCare fix, according to a Senate GOP aide. 

The meeting with the president, which was first reported by Politico, was attended by Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate panel advances three spending bills Trump says he will sign executive order to end family separations Trump backs narrow bill halting family separations: official MORE (R-S.C.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Supreme Court allows states to collect sales taxes from online retailers | Judge finds consumer bureau structure unconstitutional | Banks clear Fed stress tests Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges —Dems, health groups demand immigrant children be quickly reunited with families Overnight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Key ObamaCare groups in limbo | Opioids sending thousands of kids into foster care | House passes bill allowing Medicaid to pay for opioid treatments MORE (R-La.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Supreme Court allows states to collect sales taxes from online retailers | Judge finds consumer bureau structure unconstitutional | Banks clear Fed stress tests Supreme Court rules states can require online sellers to collect sales tax 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families MORE (R-Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration Republicans agree — it’s only a matter of time for Scott Pruitt Skyrocketing insulin prices provoke new outrage MORE (R-Maine).  
 
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The importance of the bipartisan bill from Alexander and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges —Dems, health groups demand immigrant children be quickly reunited with families White House releases sweeping proposal to reorganize government Democrats protest Trump's immigration policy from Senate floor MORE (D-Wash.) has increased in recent days given that Senate Republicans are now proposing to repeal ObamaCare's individual mandate in their tax bill. 
 
Collins and another moderate, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiIcebreaking ships are not America’s top priority in the Arctic 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families Trump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril MORE (R-Alaska), have indicated that passing Alexander-Murray would help ease their concerns about the spike in premiums from repealing the mandate. 
 
Getting Trump's support for that measure would help ease its passage, especially through the House, where many Republicans are opposed to it as a bailout of insurance companies. 
 
Trump, though, has sent mixed messages.
 
The Senate GOP aide said the conversation about the Alexander-Murray bill during the meeting on Thursday was "encouraging" but did not say there were any commitments from the president. 
 
Asked about the meeting and the White House's position on Alexander-Murray, a White House spokesman issued a general statement. 
 
"The President and Senators Graham, Cassidy, Collins, and Alexander had a productive meeting yesterday where they discussed the ongoing efforts to pass historic tax reform and other legislative objectives," the spokesman said. "The President is pleased with the momentum that has gathered behind finding solutions to these important issues and looks forward to continued cooperation with Congress in order to enact them as soon as possible."
 
A major obstacle for the idea of pairing Alexander-Murray with repealing the mandate in tax reform, though, is that Democrats have rejected that trade. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMontana's environmental lobby teams with governor to kill 600 jobs Dems allow separation of parents, children to continue, just to score political points Democrats' education agenda would jeopardize state-level success MORE (N.Y.) said this week that Democrats would block the Alexander-Murray bill if the GOP goes forward with repealing the mandate. 
 
Several experts also say that Alexander-Murray, which is aimed at stabilizing markets by continuing key payments for insurers, would not cancel out the destabilizing effects of repealing the mandate, which could lead to a lack of healthy people signing up and a rise in premiums. 
 
The Congressional Budget Office has found that repealing the mandate would increase premiums by 10 percent, but that markets would continue to be stable in almost all areas of the country.