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 GrahamHouse Judiciary chair threatens subpoena if DOJ doesn’t supply McCabe memos by Tuesday Rosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ Graham: There's a 'bureaucratic coup' taking place against Trump MORE (R-S.C.), Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyOvernight Health Care: Opioids package nears finish line | Measure to help drug companies draws ire | Maryland ObamaCare rates to drop Overnight Health Care: HHS diverts funds to pay for detaining migrant children | Health officials defend transfers | Lawmakers consider easing drug company costs in opioids deal Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens MORE (R-La.), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke MORE (R-Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsKavanaugh accuser set to testify Thursday McConnell told Trump criticism of Kavanaugh accuser isn't helpful: report Dems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage MORE (R-Maine).  
 
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Collins and another moderate, Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiKavanaugh accuser set to testify Thursday Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week Murkowski says she’ll wait until Ford testifies before making decision on Kavanaugh 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 SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation 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.