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Trump: 'Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated'

Image: US-POLITICS-TRUMP-ORDER
President Donald Trump pauses before signing an executive order about regulatory reform in the Oval Office of the White House February 24, 2017 in Washington, DC.
As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump seemed to think health care policy was easy. In remarks this morning at a White House event for governors, the Republican president indicated a different perspective.

"We're going to repeal and replace Obamacare, and get states the flexibility that they need to make the end result really, really good for them. Very complicated issue.... I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated."

A meeting Friday afternoon between President Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, his former rival in the GOP primaries, had no set agenda. But Kasich came armed with one anyway: his hope to blunt drastic changes to the nation's health-care system envisioned by some conservatives in Washington.Over the next 45 minutes, according to Kasich and others briefed on the session, the governor made his pitch while the president eagerly called in several top aides and then got Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on the phone. At one point, senior adviser Jared Kushner reminded his father-in-law that House Republicans are sketching out a different approach to providing access to coverage. "Well, I like this better," Trump replied, according to a Kasich adviser.

The practical impact of this matters. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Republican leaders have their own plan, and they're moving forward with their package. If the Republican White House presents a competing plan -- one the president likes "better" -- it will delay and complicate an already contentious fight, making the far-right effort even more likely to fail.