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Alexander: Trump engineered the bipartisan health bill

Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) sat down with Mike Allen immediately after getting off the phone with President Trump, who called to encourage him about the bipartisan health care bill he announced yesterday with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). Trump told Alexander that he supports the effort, is glad they're trying, but still needs to review the deal to "reserve his options."

Alexander's bottom line: "Trump completely engineered the plan that we announced yesterday," by calling me repeatedly and asking Sen. Murray to be a part of it. "He wanted a bipartisan bill for the short term."

Yes, but: Minutes later, Trump tweeted: "I am supportive of Lamar as a person & also of the process, but I can never support bailing out ins co's who have made a fortune w/ O'Care."

House Speaker Paul Ryan's take: "The speaker does not see anything that changes his view that the Senate should keep its focus on repeal and replace of Obamacare," Doug Andres, Ryan's press secretary, told Axios.

More from Alexander:

  • On Graham-Cassidy: Alexander said he expects Trump will raise their version again, and he'll vote for it, but he's not sure it will pass on the second go-around either.
  • Fundamental differences between parties: "Democrats like decisions made here, Republicans like decisions made in the states."
  • Midterm elections: Alexander said he doesn't know what the effect of looking again at the ACA would be in the November elections, but he says it's what they need to do.