Economy

The House's health care bill is 'mean,' Trump reportedly tells senators

Trump hosted 13 Republican senators for lunch at the White House on Tuesday in a bid to help the lawmakers find common ground to move forward with healthcare reform legislation this summer.

President Trump called the House's ObamaCare repeal bill "mean" and said it should be more generous during a meeting with Republican senators Tuesday, according to a Senate GOP aide.

Given the public's poor reception of the House bill - recent polls showed more than half opposed it, and less than one-fourth supported it - you'd think Senate Republicans would be reluctant to follow a similar path.

Trump's remarks were a surprising slap at a Republican-written House measure that was shepherded by Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and whose passage the president lobbied for and praised.

While Washington remains focused on that big Russian cloud over the Trump administration, Republicans are proceeding apace with their plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and deprive millions of Americans of their health care coverage.

The president's criticism also came as Senate Republican leaders' attempts to write their own health care package have been slowed by disagreements between their party's conservatives and moderates.

Moderates, including Capito, have held great sway in the discussions as Senate leaders worked to secure the 50 votes necessary to pass a health-care bill.

Although some Republican senators have admitted to not knowing the details of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that a proposal is on its way.

Since House Republicans passed a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare last month after much hand-wringing and drama, a "working group" of Senate Republicans have been meeting to share their preferences for a health care bill.

President Trump met with 15 senators at the White House on Tuesday to push them to finish the job, though he stopped short of asking for a specific deadline.

The lawmakers specifically discussed structuring the bill differently than the House bill, Thune said, including ensuring the bill "protects people with pre-existing conditions" and using tax credits to "make the bill work for lower income, elderly people".

A Cruz confidant, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said it is a hard choice.

Yet Democrats say Republicans are trying to obfuscate changes to Obamacare that could leave certain populations worse off, including older Americans who don't yet qualify for Medicare. "You couldn't have a more partisan process than what you're engaged in right now".

Senators are seriously considering keeping in place some ObamaCare taxes for longer than the House-passed bill would as they seek to draft healthcare legislation that can pass their chamber with a simple majority.

"But, what I will say is he does believe, and I think, we can improve upon the House product ... and get a bill that is more workable for the American people", Thune added.

The president's private comments seem to fly in the face of his public ones, in which he has called the House bill, "incredibly well crafted", among other things.

"We want to brag about the plan", Trump said. "I'm exhausted of Republicans promising they would repeal Obamacare and then negotiating to keep it".



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