Pence, Price huddle with Senate GOP
© Greg Nash

Vice President Pence is meeting with GOP senators amid growing skepticism over the House bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare. 

A spokesman for the vice president said the former House lawmaker met with Republican Sens. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Kobach says he's more prepared for 'propaganda' in Senate campaign Pompeo: Senate run 'off the table' MORE (Kansas), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSchumer blasts 'red flag' gun legislation as 'ineffective cop out' McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Shaken Portman urges support for 'red flag' laws after Ohio shooting MORE (Ohio) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSchumer blasts 'red flag' gun legislation as 'ineffective cop out' Lawmakers jump-start talks on privacy bill Trump border fight throws curveball into shutdown prospects MORE (S.D.) on Thursday morning to discuss the plan, which has White House support but has been slammed by key GOP lawmakers.
 
According to the White House daily schedule, Pence, who has deep ties to Capitol Hill, is expected to hold more meetings on Thursday afternoon. 
 
Portman said he talked with Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion, a central concern for a handful of moderate lawmakers. 
 
"As I have said before, I support making structural improvements to the Medicaid program, but we must provide stability and certainty for individuals and families in Medicaid expansion programs and real flexibility for states," Portman said in a statement. 
 
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Portman separately signaled that ObamaCare repeal was one of a "number of topics" discussed in the meeting. 
 
"I raised the same concerns I raised all along," he told reporters. "I'm concerned about the first House draft. I like the second draft better." 
 
Thune also confirmed that he discussed the House bill during his meeting. 
 
Sarah Little, a spokeswoman for Roberts, said the Kansas Republican was "grateful to have time" with Pence and that they talked about trade, healthcare and a current spate of wildfires in the senator's home state. 
 
Roberts told reporters that his main issue during the discussion was trade, but acknowledged that he also spoke about the House bill.  
 
"Well, yes, Doc Price was sitting there. I said don't worry about me. Just, you know, we could maybe sell this a little better," he said. 
 
Roberts added "each of us have a different carve out that we would like to say, 'Hey, maybe we could emphasize this more.' State lines for instance." 
 
The meetings come as lawmakers are entrenched in a debate over how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 
 
A House panel marked up its portion of a repeal bill during a rare all-night session. 
 
But a growing number of Senate Republicans are publicly raising concerns about the bill, known as the American Health Care Act, signaling it won't be able to pass the Senate without major changes. 
 
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said early Thursday morning that GOP lawmakers needed to "get it right, don't get it fast." 
 
Senate leadership is hoping to take up and pass the bill before they leave in early April for a two-week recess.
 
 
"We'll be in a reconciliation mode and as you know there's a vote-a-rama," McConnell said during a Playbook Live interview. "So there's going to be plenty of opportunity for senators in both parties to change this bill."
 
Peter Sullivan contributed