McConnell to Trump: We're not repealing and replacing ObamaCare

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play House Democrats to vote on flavored e-cigarettes ban next year MORE (R-Ky.) told President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE in a conversation Monday that the Senate will not be moving comprehensive health care legislation before the 2020 election, despite the president asking Senate Republicans to do that in a meeting last week.

McConnell said he made clear to the president that Senate Republicans will work on bills to keep down the cost of health care, but that they will not work on a comprehensive package to replace the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration is trying to strike down in court.

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“We had a good conversation yesterday afternoon and I pointed out to him the Senate Republicans’ view on dealing with comprehensive health care reform with a Democratic House of Representatives,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday, describing his conversation with Trump.

“I was fine with Sen. Alexander and Sen. Grassley working on prescription drug pricing and other issues that are not a comprehensive effort to revisit the issue that we had the opportunity to address in the last Congress and were unable to do so,” he said, referring to Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderWays and Means Committee announces rival surprise medical billing fix Impeachment surprise: Bills Congress could actually pass in 2020 Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments MORE (R-Tenn.) and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Horowitz did not find evidence Obama asked for probe of Trump Live coverage: DOJ inspector general testifies on Capitol Hill MORE (R-Iowa) and the failed GOP effort in 2017 to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

“I made clear to him that we were not going to be doing that in the Senate,” McConnell said he told the president. “He did say, as he later tweeted, that he accepted that and he would be developing a plan that he would take to the American people during the 2020 campaign.”

After getting the message from McConnell, Trump tweeted Monday night that he no longer expected Congress to pass legislation to replace ObamaCare and still protect people with pre-existing medical conditions, the herculean task he laid before Senate Republicans at a lunch meeting last week.

“The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare," Trump wrote Monday night in a series of tweets after speaking to McConnell. "In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House.”

Trump blindsided GOP senators when he told them at last week's lunch meeting that he wanted Republicans to craft legislation to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The only heads-up they got was a tweet from Trump shortly before the meeting, saying, “The Republican Party will become ‘The Party of Healthcare!'”

The declaration drew swift pushback from Republicans like Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats spend big to put Senate in play Senate confirms Trump's 50th circuit judge, despite 'not qualified' rating Republicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial MORE (Maine), who said the administration’s efforts to invalidate the entire law were “a mistake.”

Other Republicans, including Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyNCAA president wants a federal athlete compensation bill Sharice Davids to vote for Trump impeachment articles: 'The facts are uncontested' Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' MORE (Utah), said they wanted to first see a health care plan from the White House.

Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial McConnell: Senate impeachment trial will begin in January McConnell: Senate will not take up new NAFTA deal this year MORE (S.D.) on Tuesday said the chances of getting comprehensive legislation passed while Democrats control the House are very slim.

“It’s going to be a really heavy lift to get anything through Congress this year given the political dynamics that we’re dealing with in the House and the Senate,” he said. “The best-laid plans and best of intentions with regard to an overhaul of the health care system in this country run into the wall of reality that it’s going to be very hard to get a Democrat House and a Republican Senate to agree on something."

--Updated at 3:26 p.m.