With Republican having failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, at least for now, President Trump on Saturday confirmed he'd once again opened the door to a deal with Democrats. They remain wary, at best.
“I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill,” Trump tweeted on Saturday morning, speaking of the Senate Democratic leader and fellow New Yorker. “ObamaCare is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!”
The president's message, just before he headed for his Virginia golf club, reflected his continued frustration with his own party’s failures to keep its seven-year-old vow to repeal President Obama's signature domestic achievement. He has flirted with a deal with Democrats before, only to return to Republicans' position that the law has to be scrapped.
That’s a non-starter with Democrats, who say the law needs improvements but is working, even as the administration is taking actions that amount to "sabotage."
Schumer underscored that point in his response, making it clear that he and Trump weren’t about to embrace on a healthcare plan.
“The president wanted to make another run at repeal and replace and I told the president that’s off the table,” Schumer wrote Saturday, via Twitter. “If he wants to work together to improve the existing health care system, we Democrats are open to his suggestions.”
Schumer said “a good place to start” was the bipartisan effort led by two senators, Republican Lamar Alexander from Tennessee and Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, who are the chairman and senior Democrat, respectively, of the Senate's health committee. Schumer said a deal “would stabilize the system and lower costs.”
The Alexander-Murray talks were shelved last month while Senate Republican leaders pursued their latest effort to end the Affordable Care Act. But they couldn’t attract a majority behind a bill, and legislation was never brought to a vote. Republican leaders say they will keep trying, though many Republicans say the effort is doomed and they want to focus on tax cuts.