Trump, Schumer talk health care The pres­i­dent again raises chance for bi­par­ti­san fix to health care.

The Washington Post Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - BY PHILIP RUCKER philip.rucker@wash­post.com

Frus­trated by Repub­li­can in­ac­tion on health care, Pres­i­dent Trump tweeted Satur­day that he had reached out to the Se­nate’s Demo­cratic leader in the hope of bro­ker­ing a deal for a “great Health­Care Bill.”

Trump said that he had called Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Fri­day to ask whether Democrats would work with him on health care.

In a tweet Satur­day morn­ing, Trump wrote: “I called Chuck Schumer yes­ter­day to see if the Dems want to do a great Health­Care Bill. Oba­maCare is badly bro­ken, big pre­mi­ums. Who knows!”

Schumer re­sponded, say­ing he was will­ing to work with Trump to “im­prove the ex­ist­ing health care sys­tem” but not to “re­peal and re­place” the Af­ford­able Care Act, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture 2010 health-care law.

“The pres­i­dent wanted to make an­other run at re­peal and re­place and I told the pres­i­dent that’s off the ta­ble,” Schumer said in a state­ment. “If he wants to work to­gether to im­prove the ex­ist­ing health care sys­tem, we Democrats are open to his sug­ges­tions. A good place to start might be the Alexan­der-Mur­ray ne­go­ti­a­tions that would sta­bi­lize the sys­tem and lower costs.”

Schumer was re­fer­ring to a bi­par­ti­san health-care pro­posal by Sens. La­mar Alexan­der (R-Tenn.) and Patty Mur­ray (D-Wash.).

Trump told re­porters Satur­day af­ter­noon that he is seek­ing a “tem­po­rary deal” with the Democrats.

“If we could make a deal, at least on a tem­po­rary ba­sis — be­cause Oba­macare is ex­plod­ing, it’s gone, the pre­mi­ums are through the roof, you see what’s hap­pen­ing,” Trump said. “So, if we could make a tem­po­rary deal, be­cause, ul­ti­mately, we’re go­ing to have it back to the states, we’re go­ing to block-grant it back to the states.”

On Fri­day, Demo­cratic law­mak­ers con­demned new rules is­sued by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion that widen the range of em­ploy­ers and in­sur­ers that can avoid the ACA re­quire­ment that birth con­trol pills and other con­tra­cep­tives be cov­ered by in­sur­ance as part of preven­tive care be­cause of re­li­gious be­liefs.

“Par­tic­u­larly af­ter the birth­con­trol de­ci­sion yes­ter­day, the ad­min­is­tra­tion has to stop sab­o­tag­ing the law be­fore any­thing real can hap­pen,” a Demo­cratic aide, speak­ing on the con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause the aide was not au­tho­rized to be quoted by name, said Satur­day.

Trump’s out­reach to Schumer comes af­ter the pres­i­dent in­fu­ri­ated fel­low Repub­li­cans by ne­go­ti­at­ing last month with Schumer and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to raise the debt ceil­ing.

Trump’s deal­ings with “Chuck and Nancy,” as he af­fec­tion­ately called them, was seen by some con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans as an act of be­trayal but have earned the pres­i­dent plau­dits and framed him as the bi­par­ti­san deal­maker he said that he would be.

Repub­li­cans con­trol the House and Se­nate but have re­peat­edly failed to pass their health-care bill through the up­per cham­ber. Their ef­forts to “re­peal and re­place Oba­macare,” which for years has been the GOP’s cam­paign mantra, so far have gar­nered no Demo­cratic sup­port. But Schumer and other Democrats have said that they would be open to dis­cus­sions to con­sider se­lec­tive changes to the ACA. This sum­mer, Schumer pub­licly of­fered to ne­go­ti­ate with Trump if Repub­li­cans were will­ing to drop what he called a “fun­da­men­tally flawed ap­proach.”

“Let’s start over,” Schumer said in June, chal­leng­ing the pres­i­dent to in­vite Se­nate Democrats to Blair House for a meet­ing. “You think we’re not se­ri­ous? Try us.” Jenna John­son con­trib­uted to this re­port. More at wash­ing­ton­post.com/ news/post-pol­i­tics

EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Trump and Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), at fore­ground, had a meet­ing of the minds Sept. 6.

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