President Trump seemed to back away even further on Wednesday from his support of a bipartisan deal that would shore up ObamaCare for the near future. In a tweet, Trump said he could "never support bailing out" insurance companies, referring to the deal struck between Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray to restore subsidies to big insurers for two years. Trump's opposition would all but doom chances of getting it passed, notes Politico, but it's difficult to gauge exactly how opposed he is, given the "mixed signals" he's been sending over the last two days, per the Washington Post. Alexander, for one, suggests there's not much reason to worry because Trump phoned him Wednesday and said he's still open to the deal, subject to his final review. Meanwhile, a strategy is emerging on how to slip it through Congress.
Politico reports that a stand-alone bill seems unlikely and that Democrats may instead tuck it into the year-end spending bill. The New York Times lays out the thinking: "In December, the government will run out of money, and no bill to keep it funded can pass without Democratic votes," write Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan. "At that point, supporters of the Alexander-Murray measure can insist on its inclusion in any spending bill and threaten to shut down the government if they do not prevail." Conservative Republicans may oppose the measure, favoring a repeal of ObamaCare instead, but it could well attract enough GOP support to succeed. At a forum Wednesday sponsored by Axios, Alexander sounded confident, predicting the legislation would “pass in some form before the end of the year.”