Trump calls House healthcare bill ‘mean’ – The Hill

“His message was that there’s a sense of urgency about this,” Sen. John ThuneJohn ThuneOvernight Tech: Uber CEO taking leave of absence | Senators unveil goals for driverless car bill | Court strikes down FCC prison phone caps | Verizon closes Yahoo deal Trump calls House healthcare bill ‘mean’ Overnight Regulation: FDA puts new nutrition labels on hold MORE (R-S.D.) said after the meeting with the president. “We can’t afford to fail; we’ve got to get it done, and he’s certainly fine with the Senate taking a different direction than what the House [did].”

The White House pressured the House to vote quickly on its healthcare bill in the spring, creating a tense process that Thune said Senate Republicans were looking to avoid.

Thune said the Senate did not want to encounter a “false deadline and not be able to meet it and all the publicity that would go with that.”

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. 

“He just mostly listened,” Portman said.

Asked if any differences were resolved in the meeting, which included centrists such as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and more conservative members, Portman said, “No, but that wasn’t the purpose of it.”

One issue that did come up was the funding of ObamaCare subsidy payments to insurers known as cost-sharing reductions. Trump has previously threatened to cut off the payments as a way to bring about the collapse of the healthcare law. Some Republican lawmakers want to fund the payments to ensure stability, though. 

“That issue got raised and I think he’s open to suggestions,” Thune said of Trump. “We had some of our members that brought that up.”

Thune said the group also discussed an effort he is leading to increase the tax credits in the bill to give more assistance to low-income and older people than the House bill did. 

“The president is very interested in getting a health reform bill through the Senate and he wants us to get moving on it,” Thune said. 

This story was updated at 5:41 p.m.


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