President Donald Trump told the Senate Tuesday he has been watching the debate on the healthcare bill in the House.
“We’re going to be in very good shape for a very long time,” Trump said in a news conference with members of the House and Senate.
“I’m going to watch it closely.”
“It’s a very important debate,” Trump continued, adding that the Senate bill will “change the way you live your life.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, praised Trump’s comments on Twitter.
“President Trump is a man of his word,” he wrote.
“He knows what is best for the American people.
He knows what’s best for our economy and our nation.”
Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, called Trump’s words a “huge mistake.”
“As far as health care goes, I have been watching and listening to the Senate debates and I have to say, I do not think it was good of President Trump to say he has watched the debate,” Lee said.
“The American people are going to have to decide.
I don’t think it’s good for the health care of the American families,” he said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, said the president “could have said anything.”
“What he said, he did in a very poor way,” Sanders said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“I think the American public is going to go to the polls on November 8 and the president should apologize.”
Sanders also said that the American Health Care Act would allow “insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.”
The bill would also allow insurers to charge higher premiums for people with preexisting conditions.
Senators on both sides of the aisle, including Republican Mike Lee of Utah, Democratic Chuck Schumer of New York and Democratic Joe Manchin of West Virginia, are pushing the White House to get a repeal of the individual mandate.
Lee said Monday that if the White, House does not repeal the mandate, it would cost the American economy $1.6 trillion in lost revenue.
“It will be a $1 trillion hole in the economy that we have not addressed and I think it would be a devastating blow to the American worker,” Lee told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
Lee and other senators are also demanding the president apologize to the millions of Americans who are affected by the individual insurance mandate.
The mandate requires that all Americans obtain health insurance and pay a fine, which is set by the IRS.
Trump on Tuesday rejected the notion that the mandate is a burden on consumers and said the tax money goes to states to expand Medicaid.
“I don’t know the numbers,” Trump told reporters when asked about the mandate.
“If you look at what the cost is, the tax is paid by the states.”
But Trump also acknowledged the mandate “has been an issue.”
“I’ve talked to the president about that,” he told reporters.
“And we’ll see what happens,” Trump added.