Alexander: Trump 'willing to consider' ObamaCare deal

Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderDems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers Overnight Health Care: GOP plays defense over pre-existing conditions | Groups furious over new Trump immigration proposal | Public health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children 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 says President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Several Yale Law classmates who backed Kavanaugh call for misconduct investigation Freedom Caucus calls on Rosenstein to testify or resign MORE is “willing to consider” the deal he struck with Senate Democrats to stabilize ObamaCare.

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“I talked to the president last night for the fourth time in 10 days on the subject and he encouraged me as he has from the beginning proceed with this — that he’s perfectly willing to consider it. He doesn’t want insurance companies to be bailed out, in his words, neither do we,” the Tennessee Republican said.

Alexander predicted some version of the legislation “is likely to become law in some form before the end of the year, because almost every House Republican has voted for it this year.“

"We are going to offer our agreement. We will have a significant number of Republican and Democratic cosponsors,” he said.

The deal, which Alexander negotiated with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), would revive ObamaCare payments to insurers for two years and give states more flexibility on the law's regulations.

Trump has sent mixed signals about whether he supports the deal. He initially praised it, but the White House later said he opposes the bill unless it is changed.

"In order for the White House to support similar legislation, it must provide immediate benefits to American families, workers, and small businesses," a White House official said.

Alexander said that during Wednesday night's call with the president — his second that day — he told Trump, "All I’m asking you to do is to consider our proposal and strengthen it, improve it — I think you want to pass it before the end of year.“

“He wanted to continue to encourage me, that he would consider it, and that members of the administration would make suggestions to us about how to improve it," Alexander said of the president.

"Really this is the beginning of the legislation process — you don’t pass something in one day," he added.

Asked if the president will ultimately support the bill, Alexander said, “we’ll see — it’s hard to predict."

"The legislative process means that someone has to come up with a solution; we’ve got one. It’s up to the president, the rest of the Senate and the House to take it, to change it, improve it and to pass it.“