Trump laid out 3 potential paths forward after the latest Republican failure on healthcare

The day after the latest Republican healthcare bill collapsed, President Donald Trump laid out a few potential paths forward on healthcare for the federal government.

During a question-and-answer session with reporters on the lawn of the White House, Trump suggested a few things: that Republicans have enough votes to go it alone on repealing the Affordable Care Act; that he could work with Democrats to pass a bill by early 2018; and that he could issue executive orders within weeks to make unilateral changes to the system.

Trump repeatedly claimed Wednesday that Republicans had enough votes to pass a healthcare bill, which flew in the face of what the bill's actual authors and GOP leaders said when they pulled the bill from a planned floor vote the day before. Trump blamed a Friday deadline for why it would have to be pushed back to January or February.

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Protests against the Republican health care bill
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Protests against the Republican health care bill
THE PARK IMPERIAL AT 230 WEST 56TH ST , NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/07/10: New Yorkers and healthcare advocacy groups organized a protest on July 10, 2017; outside Rep. John Faso's fundraiser as donors arrive at the Park Imperial at 230 West 56th St. in Midtown Manhattan. Faso voted for the House Trumpcare bill in May, he also coauthored the notorious Collins-Faso amendment to both the House and Senate bills that would shift New York Medicaid funding from counties budgets to the state budget. (Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A healthcare activist protests to stop the Republican health care bill at Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Healthcare activists protest to stop the Republican health care bill at Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Healthcare activists get a police warning during a protest to stop the Republican health care bill at Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Healthcare activists protest to stop the Republican health care bill at Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 10: A demonstrater from Arizona chants, 'Kill the bill or lose your job' while sitting on the floor outside the offices of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) during a protest against health care reform legislation in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill July 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. More than 100 people from across the country were arrested during the protest that was organized by Housing Works and Center for Popular Democracy. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
NEW YORK COUNTY REPUBLICAN OFFICE, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/07/05: The Socialist Feminists of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) organized a protest outside of the New York County Republican Office in New York City on July 5, 2017; to tell Republicans that is it despicable and undemocratic that they are trying to ram Trumpcare through the Senate without debate or public hearings. (Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 10: Health care protesters from Arkansas chant outside of the office of Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., in the Hart Senate Office Building on Monday, July 10, 2017. About a dozen people loudly voiced opposition to the GOP health care bill. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
THE PARK IMPERIAL AT 230 WEST 56TH ST , NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2017/07/10: New Yorkers and healthcare advocacy groups organized a protest on July 10, 2017; outside Rep. John Faso's fundraiser as donors arrive at the Park Imperial at 230 West 56th St. in Midtown Manhattan. Faso voted for the House Trumpcare bill in May, he also coauthored the notorious Collins-Faso amendment to both the House and Senate bills that would shift New York Medicaid funding from counties budgets to the state budget. (Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 5: A small group of activists rally against the GOP health care plan outside of the Metropolitan Republican Club, July 5, 2017 in New York City. Republicans in the Senate will resume work on the bill next week when Congress returns to Washington after a holiday recess. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A small group of activists rally against the GOP health care plan outside of the Metropolitan Republican Club, July 5, 2017 in New York City. Republicans in the Senate will resume work on the bill next week when Congress returns to Washington after a holiday recess. (Photo by Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Healthcare activists protest to stop the Republican health care bill at Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Healthcare activists are detained after a protest to stop the Republican health care bill at Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
A staff members asks the media to leave the room as Healthcare activists protest in the office of Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to stop the Republican health care bill at Russell Senate Office building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. Capitol police arrest demonstrators in wheelchairs protesting against the AHCA health care bill put forward by President Trump and Congressional Republicans as several dozen protestors are taken into custody after refusing to leave the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Demonstrators hold signs during a protest against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act outside the Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Healthcare activists are detained after a protest to stop the Republican health care bill at Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
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"We have the votes, but we can't go longer than Friday," Trump said.

Republicans' ability, at least for awhile, to use the budget reconciliation process to pass a bill without the threat of a Democratic filibuster expires September 30. They will have to pass a new budget resolution with new reconciliation rules, but the Republican pivot to tax reform would complicate any plans to move a healthcare bill.

Then Trump suggested a possible bipartisan push to solve the issue with Democrats.

"I'm also going to meet with Democrats and see if we can get a health care plan that's even better," said the president. "So I will negotiate with Democrats."

It's unclear what sort of plan Trump would seek with Democrats. It could be simply a stabilization package for the Obamacare exchanges, similar to one that was being developed by GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray — before Republican leaders scrapped the plan. It could also be a broader package to help correct some of the issues with Obamacare. 

Finally, Trump said he was considering signing an executive order that he said would allow people to purchase insurance across state lines.

"I am considering an executive order on associations and that will take care of a tremendous number of people when it comes to healthcare," Trump said. "And I'll probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out, cross state lines, do lots of things, and buy their own healthcare. And that will be probably signed next week, it's being finished now."

Allowing insurance to be sold across state lines has long been a focus for Trump. But Obamacare already allows it, no insurers use it, and it would likely do little to bring down costs.

The other idea he mentioned would allow association health plans, which would permit employees at small businesses and other individuals to pool together to buy insurance at more favorable rates.

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Preventative health care costs under Trump
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Preventative health care costs under Trump
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The plans would not be subject to Obamacare regulations, and experts say they could destabilize the rest of the individual insurance market.

"Potentially quite destabilizing if these non-compliant association plans could skim of healthy individuals and small businesses," tweeted Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy think tank.

Trump did not specify which of these three options he would pursue first, or if they would all work in conjunction.

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