Manchin pitched Trump on reviving bipartisan ObamaCare fix

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGOP seeks to change narrative in shutdown fight Senate to vote on dueling government funding bills This week: Congress heading in opposite directions on shutdown plans MORE (D-W.Va.) pitched President TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE on reviving a bipartisan fix to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when the two had lunch on Monday.

I said he's the one who can make a difference,” Manchin told reporters on Wednesday, describing his message on health care in his meeting with the president. “We already have a bipartisan agreement. If he signs onto it, it would be great.”

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Health care was just one of a range of topics Manchin and Trump discussed. Manchin said Wednesday that he wants to refer the bipartisan fix of ObamaCare as “Trump repair-care.”

Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGrassley to test GOP on lowering drug prices McConnell blocks House bill to reopen government for second time Senators restart shutdown talks — and quickly hit roadblocks MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySen. Murray says Washington behavior reminds her of former preschool students Senate rejects government-wide ban on abortion funding Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal MORE (D-Wash.) last year reached a bipartisan agreement aimed at reducing ACA premiums and stabilizing the market, but the deal eventually fell apart amid a dispute over restrictions on funding going to abortions.

Manchin, a moderate Democrat who just won reelection in a state that Trump carried by a wide margin in 2016, is now looking to revive the deal, noting that Trump’s backing would be key.

Manchin did not describe in detail what Trump’s reaction was, beyond saying, “I think he's going to look at it; I hope he does.”

Trump has previously sent mixed messages on the agreement. In October 2017 he tweeted the deal would mean “bailing out” insurance companies, but Trump later gave the agreement his support.

But the measure did not end up making it into a massive government funding bill in March of this year amid the dispute over abortion.

There is still no resolution to the question of whether to include abortion restrictions on new funding to stabilize ObamaCare, making the path forward for a deal difficult.

Murray last week also called for trying again for a deal. Alexander indicated last week in response that he was skeptical but willing to try.

The ground has also shifted since last year, meaning Democrats would likely have different requests for a deal, including undoing Trump administration actions to allow cheaper, skimpier insurance plans. It would be hard for Republicans to support undoing Trump’s actions.