Trump says Senate health bill will be 'negotiated'

Trump says Senate health bill will be 'negotiated'
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President Trump on Thursday expressed hope the Senate will pass a healthcare plan “with heart,” stopping short of endorsing the just-released plan. 
 
“ObamaCare is dead and we're putting a plan out today that is going to be negotiated,” Trump said during a White House technology event. 
 
“We will hopefully get something done, and it will be something with heart and very meaningful,” he continued.
 
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Asked if he thinks the bill has enough heart, Trump said it needs “a little negotiation, but it’s going to be very good.”
 
The comments came minutes after Republican leaders released their long-awaited ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill, which was written behind closed doors. 
 
The 142-page draft measure would fundamentally alter parts of President Obama’s signature healthcare law. 
 
It would make deep cuts to Medicaid, including a gradual rollback of ObamaCare’s expansion of the health insurance program for the poor and disabled. 
 
It also scraps billions of dollars in ObamaCare taxes used to pay for the expansion and eliminates the law’s requirement that Americans purchase insurance. 
 
Trump said he hoped Democrats would sign onto the plan, even though they’re expected to unanimously oppose it in the Senate. 
 
“We'd love to have some Democrats' support, but they're obstructionists,” he said. 
 
Senate GOP leaders hope to hold a vote on the measure as soon as next week. But they face a tough task in attracting the 50 votes needed to pass it, with Vice President Pence stepping in to break a tie. Republicans can only afford two defections and still pass the measure. 
 
The House passed its own ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill last month. Republicans celebrated the measure with Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House, but the president reportedly called the measure "mean" in a later private conversation and said he hoped the Senate would craft a more generous plan. 
 
Senate GOP leadership staffed briefed White House officials on the details of the plan on Wednesday evening.  
 
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday afternoon refused to weigh in on the specifics of the bill, or even say whether the president supports it generally.
 
She suggested that Medicaid cuts might be a point of negotiation for Trump, who promised during the campaign that he would protect the entitlement program. 
 
“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid,” he tweeted in May 2015.
 
Sanders said the president “wants to protect Medicaid" but refused to reiterate his campaign pledge to block any cuts.
 
“I don’t believe that the president has explicitly weighed in that it’s right to cut Medicaid,” she said. 
 
The spokeswoman wouldn’t say whether the president plans to whip votes for the bill in the Senate. 
 
“We’ll keep you updated as his involvement takes place,” she said. 
 
Trump later tweeted that he is "very supportive" of the bill and hopes to make it "really special."
Updated: 6:45 p.m.