Senate Republicans Push to Reach Health Deal


Donald Trump has urged Republican Senators to devise a more generous healthcare bill, in contrast to what he called a "mean" bill passed in the House last month.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was a key Trump poll pledge.

Politico, citing sources familiar with Trump's meeting with senators, reported the president believes the House version of the bill is hard to defend, and said he'd like to see more robust tax credits for people who buy health insurance as individuals. During a ceremony at the Rose Garden, Trump praised the bill as "an incredible healthcare plan" and "something very, very incredibly well-crafted", according to the White House.

Now, however, he is sounding a different tune.

President Trump didn't stop at calling his own health care bill mean. Moderate GOP senators have been pushing to ease those efforts.

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. How is throwing 23 million people off their health insurance, charging premiums thousands of dollars more per year for health care for the elderly or people (infants to the aged) with pre-existing conditions and giving the rich huge tax breaks pro-life?

Yet Republicans such as Ms. Capito, Mr. Portman and Dean Heller of Nevada are looking for a more gradual phaseout of generous federal funding that their states used to expand Medicaid for the poor, saying they would like to avoid an abrupt "cliff" in 2020, when the House bill would freeze the expansion.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who has been more wary of Medicaid cuts in the healthcare bill than some other Republicans, said Trump did not try to pressure him to support a specific bill.

Another senator at the lunch, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, said after the meeting that there still was a lot of work to do before legislation can be unveiled.

"I don't know that there are other hearings, but we have invited you to participate and give your ideas", he said.

Some Republicans had hoped to vote on a bill before July, but time is running out.

Unfortunately, the American public may not have those opportunities with the Senate's AHCA bill.

Senate aides said the Senate bill was not expected to touch insurance protections that are included in Obamacare for people with pre-existing medical conditions, after the controversy over the House bill that would let states seek waivers from those protections.

A White House official declined to comment to CBS News.

"We're not going to ignore anything", he told reporters Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could still pass a bill without the votes of Lee and Paul, but he could afford no further defections from his caucus.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta later tweeted that Trump also called the bill a "son of a bitch", according to a source. Considering a number of offsets and spending, over the next decade the bill would save the government a total of $119 billion. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and more conservative members, Portman said, "No, but that wasn't the objective of it".