President Trump on Wednesday suggested he will oppose a bipartisan deal to help stabilize ObamaCare, reversing comments he made one day earlier.
Trump wrote on Twitter that he was “supportive” of the deal’s architect, Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), as well as the Senate process, but said he would “never support bailing out” insurance companies, saying they “have made a fortune” under ObamaCare.
Trump stopped short of saying he would veto the measure, however.
Speaking to reporters later Wednesday, Trump said “if something can happen, that’s fine, but I won’t do anything to enrich the insurance companies.”
The president has sent a series of mixed signals on the legislation drafted by Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the ranking member on the Health Committee.
The measure would fund insurer subsidies known as cost-sharing reduction payments for two years while allowing states greater flexibility to waive the health-care law’s rules.
Trump announced last week he would cut off the payments, a move experts said would cause insurance premiums to skyrocket.
But the president on Tuesday signaled he may support the proposal, calling it “a short-term solution so that we don’t have this very dangerous little period” for insurance companies. Later in the evening, he appeared to backtrack on those comments.
“While I commend the bipartisan work being done by Sens. Alexander and Murray — and I do commend it — I continue to believe Congress must find a solution to the ObamaCare mess instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies,” Trump said in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The president’s seeming inability to take a clear position on the issue has frustrated many on Capitol Hill.
Alexander said Wednesday
that Trump had called him earlier in the morning to express optimism about the agreement.
“He called me to say that number one, he wanted to be encouraging about the bipartisan agreement that Sen. Murray and I announced yesterday,” Alexander said at an Axios event, adding that the president “engineered” the plan.
The Tennessee senator said, however, Trump “intends to review it carefully to see if he wants to add anything to it.”
Trump came close to backing the deal Tuesday, even as he railed against insurance companies and declared that “ObamaCare is virtually dead.”
“It will get us over this intermediate hump,” Trump said at a news conference with the Greek prime minister.
At the same time, Trump claimed “we either have the votes or we are very close to having the votes” for repealing ObamaCare.
“This president keeps zigging and zagging. Our only hope is maybe tomorrow he’ll be for this again,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Updated: 10:24 a.m.