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The Latest: Trump optimistic on new health law


Latest on the Republican health care plan (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he expects the House Republican health plan will be passed "substantially pretty quickly."

Speaking at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday, Trump calls it a "great plan" and says it is "getting more and more popular with the Republican base, the conservative base and with people generally."

Trump repeated his claim that so-called Obamacare is "a disaster." He said that in the end of the process it will be a great plan.

Several Republicans have said they can't support the law as it stands and are demanding changes.

___

2:15 p.m.

Nevada Sen. Dean Heller says he can't support the House GOP health care bill in its current form, leaving the measure short of the support it needs in the Senate.

Heller, who faces re-election next year, was asked if he agreed with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has expressed opposition. Heller's spokesman Mac Abrams said Friday that the senator said he can't support the bill as the House GOP has crafted it.

Heller joins Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah in opposing the legislation, while other Republicans, including Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas, have expressed deep misgivings.

___

10:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he wants people to know he's "100 percent behind" the House Republican health care bill.

Trump is meeting with Republican lawmakers at the White House Friday morning. Trump says the attendees were "mostly no's, yesterday" and now they're all yes's."

Trump says the press is misrepresenting the legislation. He also says some changes have been made to the bill.

Lawmakers at the meeting include Rep. Gary Palmer, a Republican from Alabama, who voted against the plan in a House budget committee vote.

One lawmaker said the changes include "work requirements and block grants."

Trump calls the House legislation "a great plan" and says there will be "bidding by insurance companies like you've never seen before."

___

9:30 a.m.

Health secretary Tom Price is prodding divided Republicans to "get together and collaborate" on a health care overhaul GOP leaders can push through the House.

Price spoke to reporters before a Friday meeting with House Republicans.

One House GOP leader, Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, said they were on track to bring the legislation to the House Rules Committee early next week. That meeting — a prelude to bringing the legislation to the House floor — is expected to produce amendments aimed at securing votes.

President Donald Trump has been talking with GOP lawmakers about potential changes. Price wouldn't say what revisions might occur, but said Trump thinks the current measure addresses his priorities.

___

3:56 a.m.

Republicans are pulling in different directions as they strive to get traction for a health care overhaul that's in danger of being dragged down by differences within their own party.

Some GOP governors weighed in Thursday evening in a letter to congressional leaders saying the House bill gives them almost no new flexibility and lacks sufficient resources to protect the vulnerable.

It landed as Republican moderates and conservatives in the House remained split, and senators expressed reservations. Democrats are united in fierce opposition.

President Donald Trump, whose administration initially embraced the House health care bill, has lately called it "very preliminary," and said he's not signing it unless it takes care of his people.

Friday morning health secretary Tom Price is scheduled to meet with the restive House Republican caucus.


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