Trump reaches out to Democrats in bid for ‘great’ health law


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Trying to revive health care talks, President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that he had spoken to the Senate’s Democratic leader to gauge whether the minority party was interested in helping pass “great” health legislation.

The answer back: Democrats are willing to hear his ideas, but scrapping the Obama health law is a nonstarter.

Trump’s latest overture to Democrats follows GOP failures so far to fulfill their yearslong promise to repeal and replace the health care law despite controlling the White House and Congress since January.

The president tweeted that he called New York Sen. Chuck Schumer on Friday to discuss the 2010 law, which Trump said “is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!” Trump said he wanted “to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill.”

In remarks Saturday before a trip to North Carolina, Trump said he was willing to consider “a temporary deal.” What that might involve was not clear, but Trump referred to a popular GOP proposal that would have the federal government turn over money for health care directly to states in the form of block grants.

Schumer said through a spokesman Saturday that Trump “wanted to make another run at repeal and replace, and I told the president that’s off the table.” Schumer said if Trump “wants to work together to improve the existing health care system, we Democrats are open to his suggestions.”

Trump has suggested before he would be open to negotiating with Democrats on health care, but there have been no clear signs of a compromise between Republicans who have sought to scrap former President Barack Obama’s law and Democrats who want to protect it.

Schumer said a starting point could be negotiations led by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., who have been discussing a limited bipartisan deal to stabilize state-level markets for individual health insurance policies.

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