American lawmakers meeting in a closed-door session reportedly received assurances from President Trump that he would be willing to support measures that would bolster the wobbling Obamacare exchange markets, in return for an end to the individual mandate.
Republican senator Lindsey Graham, a vocal opponent of the Affordable Care Act, reported after the meeting that Mr Trump said: “If the tax bill passes with an individual mandate repeal he would” give his support.
However, any attempt to end the individual mandate via the tax reform legislation currently under discussion would face opposition from Democrats.
Leading Obamacare proponent and senate minority leader Charles Schumer said: “You can’t sabotage the entire system and then say you’re going to do a small little fix on top of that sabotage.”
There are currently two bipartisan bills working their way through Congress, one of which would fund insurer payments – canceled by the White House last month – for two years.
Mr Trump has also already halved the enrollment period for Obamacare and cut funding for groups working to promote awareness of the legislation.
While nearly three million Americans have gained insurance under Obamacare since this year’s enrollment period began, over half a million more than last year, the shorter window makes it likely the total will be lower than last year’s 12 million enrollees.