Republicans still negotiating to replace Obamacare: US President Donald Trump

Trump courted Meadows in meetings and calls, and now White House aides say he feels scorned by Meadows and fellow Freedom Caucus members - and keeps close watch on their television appearances and how they talk about him.

Senator Rand Paul speaks to the media about repealing Obamacare after playing golf with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, April 2.

After meeting Pence, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said his group was "intrigued" by the idea of giving give states more flexibility to opt out of Obamacare regulations using a waiver process, but Meadows wouldn't promise the Freedom Caucus would be on board in the end.

Trump told the Financial Times if the deal he is trying to negotiate doesn't gain enough support with Republicans, he will turn to Democrats for help. Played some golf, and we talked and we talked about a little bit of health care. Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., protected many Republicans by averting a House vote on the doomed bill, but several dozen supported it in committees.

In the immediate aftermath of the bill's collapse, Trump said he was moving on from health care until Obamacare "explodes".

Sick person, you're on your own under the new republican plan.

Anybody, especially the media, "who thinks that Repeal & Replace of ObamaCare is dead does not know the love and strength" in the Republican Party, Trump assured his 27 million Twitter followers.

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Republicans acknowledged that by making these changes - which are more welcomed by conservatives in the Freedom Caucus - that it might then cause political heartburn for more moderate Republicans.

That angst remains pervasive, with members wondering whether Trump is backing the right kind of bills, the sort of agenda that could lift him and Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterms.

These would include waivers from the provision that obliges insurers to cover so-called "essential health benefits", including mental health, maternity and substance abuse services. But the Freedom Caucus has made clear that the next bill must eliminate those policies to get them to vote for it.

But there was no evidence that the proposal won over any GOP opponents who'd forced Trump and party leaders to beat an unceremonious retreat on their bill on March 24, when they canceled a House vote that was doomed to failure. Members of the Freedom Caucus are also looking for the White House to give states the ability to opt out of the community ratings provision, which now protect consumers from insurers charging higher premiums to individuals based on their their medical history or gender. On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and budget director Mick Mulvaney reportedly met with representatives from both camps-the Freedom Caucus and the Tuesday Group, a 50- member caucus of moderate Republicans-to find some middle ground between the two, The Washington Post reports. "I think they've got a way to go". But this move spooked moderate Republicans, who were concerned it would leave their constituents with less care and bigger bills, and led to the bill being shelved. "I said, 'Don't take a vote, ' and we will see what happens", the president said in the interview.

"For every adjustment you make one way, it has an equal and opposite reaction the other way", he said.

The Freedom Caucus, however, has decided not to fight the concept of refundable tax credits for consumers that was included in the failed GOP bill. Ryan, in a news conference Tuesday morning, said "it's all about getting premiums down".

Ryan has suggested that they get together to sort out their differences, but it's not happening, according to one key lawmaker.

  • Myrtle Hill