Spicer: Trump Has ‘Met With Individuals’ About Health Care Bill Strategy

AP

White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated Tuesday that President Donald Trump was in talks with members of Congress about continued efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.

House Republicans pulled their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last week after failing to secure enough votes.

“Staff has met with individuals and listened to them,” Spicer said at a press briefing Monday, asked if the White House was involved in additional health care negotiations.

“I mean, have we had some discussions and listened to ideas? Yes. Are we actively planning an immediate strategy? Not at this time,” he continued. “I think there is a discussion that began, as I mentioned yesterday, of a lot of individuals on both sides of the aisle reaching out to both the President and key staff members to share ideas and additional ways forward. So there has been a discussion and I believe there will be several more.”

Republican members of Congress said Tuesday that they would continue to try to reach a party consensus on a bill to replace Obamacare. Newsmax’s John Gizzy asked Spicer if that meant the White House would exclude Democrats from health care talks.

“I’m not saying we’ve picked a strategy and we’re going to go with this group or that group,” Spicer responded. “Several people reached out and expressed an interest and the President’s view is that he’s willing to listen to them and hear what their ideas are.”

He said Trump was still open to working with Democrats to pass a health care bill.

“It’s how do you take whatever that number is that we have now, and get it up to 216 to pass, without losing people and/or making it a bad deal,” he said.

Later, Spicer seemed to caution states like Kansas, whose legislature voted Tuesday to expand Medicaid under the parameters established by Obamacare. Spicer said that expansion, for which the Republican bill would have eliminated funding, was “leading to an explosion.”

“There’s a reason he explained to Congress and especially members who have talked about entitlement expansion why we should have passed this bill last week and why we need to address it now,” Spicer said, referring to Trump. “This is a major issue. It was one of our talking points so I hope they listened.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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