Senate GOP revives negotiation over ObamaCare repeal and replace
© Greg Nash

Senate Republicans will huddle on Wednesday evening to look for a way forward on GOP healthcare legislation.

"I think yeah, I would say that it is contemporarily sort of revived," Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Public impeachment hearings to begin next week MORE (R-S.D.) said of the Republican effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Thune and Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid Trump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden MORE (R-Mo.), both members of Senate leadership, expressed optimism about injecting new life into the process following a closed-door lunch with President Trump earlier in the day. It is not clear what approach Senate Republicans will take in the negotiation.

"There are going to be some meetings tonight up here with people who have issues, still have outstanding issues, I think the question will be ... can we find a way to yes," Thune told reporters. 

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He added that the main obstacles to getting a deal to repeal and replace ObamaCare in one bill remain concerns from moderates on Medicaid and the "free market" part of the caucus. Leadership is looking to "reconcile the two." 

"We don't have any delusions about the fact that this is going to be very hard. We still have members who are not there," Thune said. 

Vice President Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Seema Verma — Trump's Medicaid chief — are expected to meet with senators Wednesday evening at the Capitol. 

Blunt added that he expects roughly a dozen senators "with the most concerns" will take part in the discussions. 

"I think we're moving toward some conclusion here," he said. "At this time [that] would be the 2015 bill, but that could change between now and the vote if everyone comes together."

The Senate is expected to try to take up a House-passed healthcare bill, which is being used for any Senate action, early next week. 

If Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week MORE (R-Ky.) can get 50 votes to overcome the initial hurdle, Republicans are either expected to try to add a 2015 repeal-only bill as an amendment or, if they can get a deal, a repeal and replace proposal. 

Before the lunch with Trump, three GOP senators — Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week Pay America's Coast Guard MORE (Alaska), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump MORE (Maine) and Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoHillicon Valley: Facebook to remove mentions of potential whistleblower's name | House Dems demand FCC action over leak of location data | Dem presses regulators to secure health care data Senators introduce bill to create 'parity' among broadband programs Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump MORE (W.Va.) — were expected to vote 'no' against the motion to proceed. 

Capito said after the meeting that she is still opposed to repeal-only.

Both Blunt and Sen. John CornynJohn CornynFalling investment revives attacks against Trump's tax cuts GOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump says Dems shouldn't hold public hearings MORE (R-Texas) signaled after the lunch meeting that they thought they had made progress toward overcoming concerns about Medicaid, which has been a key hang up for GOP negotiations. 

Several moderate senators from states that expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare were wary that the Senate's healthcare bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, would dramatically reshape Medicaid and leave some of their constituents unable to afford insurance. Meanwhile, conservatives wanted to scale down and add new requirements for the program.