© 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 GrahamSenate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Trump offers sympathy for those charged with Jan. 6 offenses MORE (R-S.C.), Bill CassidyBill CassidySunday shows - Boosters in the spotlight GOP senator: Republicans will lose if they relitigate the past Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant MORE (R-La.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWelcome to ground zero of climate chaos A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate Bipartisan blip: Infrastructure deal is last of its kind without systemic change MORE (R-Maine).
The importance of the bipartisan bill from Alexander and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayFaith leaders call on Congress to lead the response to a global pandemic Conservation group says it will only endorse Democrats who support .5T spending plan Support the budget resolution to ensure a critical investment in child care 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 MurkowskiEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee 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 SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden 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.