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 GrahamTrump reviews Pelosi on morning TV: 'She wasn't bad' Encryption helps America work safely – and that goes for Congress, too Graham: Pelosi comment on Trump is 'most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history' MORE (R-S.C.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyTensions boil over on Senate floor amid coronavirus debate  Overnight Energy: Democratic lawmakers seek emissions reductions in airline bailout | House Dems warn Trump against oil industry bailout | GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market GOP senators ask Saudis to stabilize oil market MORE (R-La.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSticking points force stimulus package talks to spill into Sunday GOP drafting stimulus package without deal with Democrats Senate coronavirus stimulus talks spill into Saturday MORE (R-Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Campaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus Senate eyes quick exit after vote on coronavirus stimulus package MORE (R-Maine).  
 
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The importance of the bipartisan bill from Alexander and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySenate coronavirus stimulus talks spill into Saturday Senate Democrats propose canceling student loan payments during coronavirus Stimulus plan hinges on McConnell, Schumer repairing toxic relationship 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 MurkowskiGOP senators urge Saudi Arabia to leave OPEC Schumer: Senate should 'explore' remote voting if coronavirus sparks lengthy break Turning the virus into a virtue — for the planet 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 SchumerMcConnell launches ad touting role in passing coronavirus relief Joe Biden can't lead the charge from his home in Delaware Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill 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.