Health and Science

President Trump says health-care reform is 'more difficult' than getting peace between Israel and Palestinians

Key Points
  • Trump mused about the difficulty of health-care reform to reporters on Air Force One.
  • "We have a thing called health care. I'm sure you haven't been reading about it too much," Trump quipped.
  • He has said he'd be "very angry" if Congress doesn't pass an Obamacare replacement.
President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after Trump's address at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem May 23, 2017.
Ronen Zvulun | Reuters

Oy vey.

President Donald Trump said, "The only thing more difficult than peace between Israel and Palestine is health care."

Trump's latest eye-opening comments to reporters came aboard Air Force One on a flight to France, hours before Republican leaders in the Senate introduced a revised health-care bill to replace Obamacare on Thursday.

"We have a thing called health care. I'm sure you haven't been reading about it too much," the president quipped.

Trump said that health-care reform is "tough" to achieve, tougher even than peace in the Middle East, because, "It's like this narrow road that is about a quarter of an inch wide."

Penn's Zeke Emanuel: Revised health-care bill worse than previous version

Trump noted the fact that revisions to health-care bills in both the Senate and the House have been made to draw support from wavering legislators. But in the process, those revisions lose support from other lawmakers who might have supported earlier versions of a bill to significantly reform the Affordable Care Act.

"You get a couple here and you say, great, and then you find out you just lost four over here," Trump said.

"Health care is tough," said Trump.

"But," the president added, "I think we're going to have something that's really good and that people are going to like."

"We're going to find out over the next — you know, we just extended for two weeks," Trump said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to delay the Senate recess to get a health bill passed, along with other legislation.

Two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, said they were opposed to the revised bill as currently written. At least five other Republican senators indicated they were undecided. If GOP leaders have three defections on the bill from their own caucus, they will be unable to get the 50 votes they need to pass the bill.

Senate draft bill preserves two Obamacare taxes

Trump earlier this week said he would be "very angry" if Congress doesn't send him a bill to sign to replace Obamacare.

"I'm sitting waiting for that bill to come to my desk," Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network. "I hope that they do it. They've been promising it for years."

GOP lawmakers have promised for years to replace the Affordable Care Act, which was passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed by a Democratic president, Barack Obama.

But despite seeing the Republican Trump elected to the White House in November, and despite holding control of both chambers of Congress, GOP leaders have been unable to quickly pass a replacement bill because of concern among their own caucus about the details of the legislation.

The House GOP caucus struggled for months to pass its own bill. Trump, who celebrated its passage with a Rose Garden gathering right after the vote, later told GOP senators the bill was too "mean."

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