October 7, 2017 / 1:26 PM / a year ago

Trump reaches out to Democrats to do 'great' healthcare bill

WASHINGTON, Oct 7 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he had called the top Senate Democrat to probe interest in working on a “great” healthcare bill to replace Obamacare, after his fellow Republicans’ failed attempts to roll back the law.

Republicans fell short several times this year in their drive to repeal former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment, a promise they had campaigned on for seven years. Trump has been frustrated by the failure, openly taunting Republicans as “total quitters” and “fools” this summer over their inability in the Senate to replace the law formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

On Saturday, Trump dangled the possibility of reaching a deal with Democrats over a new healthcare bill, saying he had reached out to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday.

“I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “ObamaCare is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!”

A spokesman for Schumer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Axios first reported Trump’s call to Schumer on Friday.

Last month, Trump sided with Democrats in a surprising debt limit deal that blindsided Republicans and left conservative groups aghast.

As a candidate for the presidency, Trump said he would pursue “insurance for everybody,” would not institute cuts to Medicaid and would “take care of everybody.” But the Trump-supported Republican proposals to repeal and replace Obamacare would have resulted in tens of millions of Americans losing their health insurance, according to analyses by the Congressional Budget Office.

Democrats acknowledge that Obamacare needs to be improved but have urged bipartisan efforts to fix problems in the law. (Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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