President Trump on Sunday morning said that he thinks the Republican senators who said they won't vote for the Obamacare repeal and replace bill will come around to it after some negotiation.
"I don't think we're that far off. I don't think we're that far off," Trump told Pete Hegseth of Fox and Friends. "Famous last words right? I think we're going to get there."
Hegseth tried — twice — to get Trump to slam former President Obama's response to the Senate draft bill. Trump held back.
"How frustrating is it to have former president Obama out there leading in the resistance?" Hegseth asked.
Trump toned down the Fox News reporter's question, saying, "I don't see him leading it."
"It's also unprecedented for a former president to come out the way President Obama has. He said your bill is not a health care bill, it's a massive transfer of wealth, it's going to harm Americans, it's mean," Hegseth asked later.
"He actually used my term, mean," Trump said, toning down the question. "I want to see a bill with heart."
Trump also said that in terms of crafting the bill, "there was nothing more closed than Obamacare" — which is a false statement.
"We have a very narrow path. And honestly nobody can be totally happy," Trump said. But we have a very good plan. We have a few people that are I think you could say modestly, they're not screaming from the rooftops, they want to get some points i think they'll get some points."
Four Senate Republicans came out against the health care bill draft — which was written behind closed doors — when it was revealed on Thursday. (Trump referred to four people in his taped interview.) On Friday, Nevada Sen. Dean Heller also came out against it.
Senate Republicans need 50 of their 52 members to pass the bill — along with tie-breaker from Vice President Pence. It is expected to go to the floor next week.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican, said last week that the draft bill keeps in place too many provisions of Obamacare for him to support it. On Sunday, he revealed on This Week that his stance wasn't completely hardline: "I'm for 100% repeal...but if you offer me 90% repeal, I'd probably vote for it. I might vote for 80% repeal."
Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican who like Paul came out against the health care bill draft last week, said the vote should be delayed.
"There's no way we should not be voting on this next week," he said on Meet the Press. "I've been encouraging leadership, the White House, anybody I can talk to for quite some time now. Let's not rush this process. Let's have the integrity to show the American people what this is, show them the truth."
Senator Bernie Sanders agreed, telling NBC's Chuck Todd, "there’s no way on God’s earth that this bill should be passed this week."
Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican whose support of the draft is crucial to its passing, raised concerns with a proposed provision defunding of Planned Parenthood. "It is one of many factors, and a very important one that I will consider when casting my vote," she said on ABC's This Week Sunday.
Collins said she is also concerned about the proposed cuts to Medicaid and "what it means to our most vulnerable citizens."
And Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, told Face the Nation that he is so far undecided on the bill. "There are things in this bill that adversely affect my state," he said.
Kellyanne Conway on Sunday asserted that the expected $830 billion in cuts from Medicaid funds aren't cuts.
“These are not cuts to Medicaid," Conway said on This Week. "This slows the rate for the future and it allows governors more flexibility for the future with Medicaid dollars.”
Conway went on to say the changes place Medicaid levels back to where they were before Obamacare. “We don’t see them as cuts, it’s slowing the rate of growth in the future and getting Medicaid back to where it was,” she said.
"I respectfully disagree with her analysis," Sen. Collins said of Conway's comments.
Tom Price, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services defended the Senate health care bill draft, telling CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday that "the plan in its entirety will absolutely bring premiums down."
Price went on to defend the bill draft from criticism that people who need health care the most will lose coverage.
"What I'm telling you is that the system, the plan that we have, would put in place would not allow individuals to fall through the cracks," Price said. "We would not pull the rug out from under anybody. We would not have individuals lose coverage that they want for themselves and for their family."
Trump also brought back one of his favorite terms from the campaign trail — the idea that the system is "rigged" against him — to describe getting health care done without support from Democrats.
"Who has ben the biggest opponent? has it been Democrats resisting, has it been fake news media, has it been deep state leaks?" Hegseth asked.
"When I ran, I talked about the rigged system because I saw I was winning states that I wasn't getting, the delegates I should be getting. I would look at this and I would say 'what kind of a system,'" Trump said. (It's unclear what exactly he means here, especially about winning states he "wasn't getting.")
Trump then went into this answer, seemingly connecting the "rigged system" idea to the health care bill:
The whole system is very, a lot of bad things going on. A lot of very bad things going on. One of the things that should be solved are probably won't be is the Republicans and Democrats don't get together. And I am open arms, but I don't see that happening. They fight each other, they the level of hostility. And by the way, this isn't just Trump... this has been like this for years. You've been doing this for a long time. It has been like that for a long time. But the level of hostility as an example of the health care bill you are reporting on and everyone is reporting on. It would be so great if the Democrats and Republicans could get together wrap their arms around it and come up with something that everyone is happy with, it's so easy, but we won't get one Democrat vote, not one, and if it were the greatest bill ever proposed in mankind we wouldn't get a vote, and that's terrible thing. So there is well look their theme is resist. I've never heard anything like this. Resist.
Tom Namako is the deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tom Namako at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at email@example.com.
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