Trump sends mixed signals on bipartisan Obamacare deal

He was for it before he was against it.

President Trump gave whiplash to lawmakers on Wednesday — sending them spinning as he oscillated between opposing views on a bipartisan health care deal.

Trump sent mixed signals to senators seeking to stabilize Affordable Care Act by restoring subsidies to health insurers.

The deal announced on Tuesday by Lamar Alexander (R- Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) was intended to shore up Obamacare by reviving billions of dollars of subsidies to insurers for two years to help lower-income Americans obtain medical coverage.

14 PHOTOS
Protests for and against Obamacare
See Gallery
Protests for and against Obamacare

Tea Party Patriots supporters hold signs protesting the Affordable Care Act in front of the Supreme Court as the court hears arguments on the health care reform bill on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Affordable Care Act supporters wave signs outside the Supreme Court after the court upheld court's Obamacare on Thursday, June 25, 2015.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A man holds signs during a protest on the second day of oral arguments for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building on March 27, 2012 in Washington, DC. Today is the second of three days the high court has set aside to hear six hours of arguments over the constitutionality President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sister Caroline attends a rally with other supporters of religious freedom to praise the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby, contraception coverage requirement case on June 30, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, which operates a chain of arts-and-craft stores, challenged the provision and the high court ruled 5-4 that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

An Obamacare supporter counter protests a Tea Party rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in the morning hours of March 27, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Supreme Court continued to hear oral arguments on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Affordable Care Act supporters hold up signs outside the Supreme Court as they wait for the court's decision on Obamacare on Thursday, June 25, 2015.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ron Kirby holds a sign while marching in protest of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. Today the high court, which has set aside six hours over three days, will hear arguments over the constitutionality President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A protester waves his bible in the air as he overpowered by cheers from supporters of the Affordable Care Act as they celebrate the opinion for health care outside of the Supreme Court in Washington,Thursday June 25, 2015. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

(Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Nuns, who are opposed to the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, and other supporters rally outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, a consolidated case brought by religious groups challenging a process for opting out of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate.

(Drew Angerer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Supporters of contraception rally before Zubik v. Burwell, an appeal brought by Christian groups demanding full exemption from the requirement to provide insurance covering contraception under the Affordable Care Act, is heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 23, 2016.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Protestors hold placards challenging 'Obamacare' outside of the US Supreme Court on March 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. The US Supreme Court heard a second challenge to US President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. The US Supreme Court faces a momentous case Wednesday on the sweeping health insurance reform law that President Barack Obama wants to leave as part of his legacy. The question before the court is whether the seven million people or more who subscribed via the government's website can obtain tax subsidies that make the coverage affordable. A ruling is expected in June.

(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

 Linda Door (L) protests against President Obama's health care plan in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on March 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. Today the high court, which has set aside six hours over three days, will hear arguments over the constitutionality President Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act celebrate after the Supreme Court up held the law in the 6-3 vote at the Supreme Court in Washington June 25, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide availability of tax subsidies that are crucial to the implementation of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, handing a major victory to the president.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The bill is needed after the Trump administration followed through on the President’s plan from last week to end the subsidies — withholding a payment of hundreds of millions of dollars to insurers.

Alexander said Trump had “completely engineered” the bipartisan proposal, something Trump shied away from on Wednesday after expressing his support a day earlier.

“Lamar Alexander’s working on it very hard from our side. And if something can happen, that’s fine,” Trump said. “But I won’t do anything to enrich the insurance companies. ... They’ve been enriched by Obamacare like nothing anybody’s ever seen before.”

Trump’s populist message didn’t sit well with critics who say he’s being disingenuous and contrary.

“This President keeps zigging and zagging so it’s impossible to govern,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “Our only hope is that maybe tomorrow he’ll be for this again.”

Insurers say they do not profit from the subsidies but pass on the savings directly to consumers to reduce the deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket medical expenses for low-income Americans.

Ending the subsidies, which are called cost-sharing reduction payments, will likely sow chaos in the 2018 Obamacare health insurance markets.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump does not support the deal in its current form, although she called it “a good step in the right direction.”

Alexander, meanwhile, said Trump wanted “to be encouraging,” and the senator predicted that his deal would pass “in one form or another” by year’s end.

But backlash from conservatives coupled with Trump’s flip-flopping could doom the bipartisan effort.

In remarks Tuesday in the Rose Garden, Trump called the deal “a very good solution.”

Hours later, Trump addressed the conservative Heritage Foundation, saying that “while I commend” the work by the two senators, “I continue to believe Congress must find a solution to the Obamacare mess instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies.”

The deal includes provisions allowing states faster and easier access to waivers allowing them to shape their own marketplace plans under current law.

It would also restore $106 million for outreach and enrollment programs, which Trump previously cut.

Republicans on Capitol Hill were not optimistic about the measure.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said the Alexander-Murray agreement has “stalled out” and that its future was an “open question.”

Republicans have repeatedly failed to undo Obamacare, a centerpiece of the President’s campaign pledges.

State attorneys general challenging Trump’s decision asked a federal judge in California to block the move as quickly as possible.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra asked the judge on Wednesday to force the Trump administration to continue making the payments.

Becerra and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are leading a coalition of 19 attorneys general that have sued over the decision.

With News Wire Services 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.