White House Reiterates Support for Bipartisan Health Measures

Trump placed phone call to Lamar Alexander

Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., have crafted legislation aimed to stabilize the health insurance marketplaces that the White House says has the president’s support. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House on Thursday signaled it is aligned with Senate Republicans who are moving away from repealing and replacing the 2010 health care law in favor of stabilizing insurance markets.

A senior administration official on Thursday listed President Donald Trump’s goals for 2018. Absent was something on which Trump campaigned hard and continued to push after taking office: getting rid of Barack Obama’s health law and replacing it with a GOP-crafted plan.

“This president is very committed in making sure that those Americans who don’t have health care can find the accessible, affordable way to achieve that over time,” the senior administration official said.

Repealing the 2010 law’s individual health mandate as part of the Republican tax overhaul bill Trump will soon sign into law is “a good start,” the official said.

“So there are other ways to do it,” the official said, referring to addressing problems with the existing law, before pointing to various health bills being shopped by GOP and Democratic senators to stabilize markets.

Trump reiterated his support for one such bill Thursday morning when he called Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has drafted legislation with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.

Trump emphasized he wants “a bipartisan outcome,” the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman said. Alexander described the call as “timely” and “effective” because it “sends a strong signal to members of the House and Senate” that the president supports their measure.

He still expects that measure will ride on an omnibus appropriations package in January. “The Christmas present has become a Valentine’s present,” he said of that massive spending bill.

Watch: 7 Years of Republican Efforts to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

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