On Tuesday, a Republican senator reportedly left a White House meeting on the Obamacare replacement plan with the impression that President Trump didn't completely understand the GOP health care bill. According to the New York Times, the unnamed senator, who supports the Senate Republicans' proposed health care legislation, reportedly felt that the president did not entirely grasp all the basic elements of the legislation.
Citing an aide who had obtained a detailed readout of the exchange, the senator told the Times that Trump "seemed especially confused" when a moderate Republican described opponents' criticism of the bill. Per the senator's account, the moderate Republican noted that opponents of the GOP's health care bill refer to it as a "massive tax break for the wealthy," resulting in the president's reported confusion. The aide also said that Trump put off addressing the tax implications of an Obamacare repeal.
Trump, however, did not acknowledge his colleagues's skepticism. "I just finished a great meeting with the Republican Senators concerning HealthCare," he tweeted after the meeting. "They really want to get it right, unlike OCare!"
On Wednesday, in what appeared to be a response to the Times' article, the president tweeted: "Some of the Fake News Media likes to say that I am not totally engaged in healthcare. Wrong, I know the subject well & want victory for U.S."
Meanwhile, the Times reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ignored a question from reporters about Trump's command of the details during the health care negotiations. It was also at McConnell's request that Trump remained fairly hands-off in the Senate bill's discussions, so Tuesday marked the first time that Trump invited all 52 Republican senators to a meeting about the legislation.
When the House of Representatives succeeded in passing a health care reform bill earlier this year, Trump found that to be cause for celebration. But in June, CNN reported that he described the same bill as "mean" and encouraged the Senate to add more money to the bill to make it "generous, kind [and] with heart."
Consequently, many people have wondered whether Trump is truly concerned about the intricacies of the Senate GOP's health care bill, or if he simply desires a legislative victory.
"I don't know that [Trump] ever understood exactly what the provisions of ObamaCare were, or what we're trying to accomplish in our health system today for more affordable quality care," Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat, told MSNBC on Tuesday.
Mitch McConnell announced that he would be delaying a vote on the proposed health care legislation until after the Fourth of July recess. If the bill passes, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that approximately 22 million people would lose their health insurance by 2026.