By Mahita Gajanan
July 18, 2017

President Trump staked out two dramatically different positions on how to handle health care over the course of a few hours on Tuesday.

After two more Republican senators said they would vote against the Senate health care bill on Monday, Trump called for lawmakers to repeal the Affordable Care Act first, then use the impending collapse of the individual insurance market to force Democrats to negotiate.

On Tuesday morning, he appeared to argue instead that Congress should leave the law in place without fixing any of its issues, and then use those problems to bring Democrats to the table later.

Both strategies rely on the same principle: forcing Democrats to come together with Republicans to overturn the law by threatening major problems with the health insurance market.

It doesn’t appear that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would approve of either approach, however.

Earlier this month, the Kentucky Republican said that if the GOP health care bill failed, Senate Republicans would need to work with Democrats to make minor fixes to the Affordable Care Act to keep the law from failing in some states.

“No action is not an alternative,” McConnell said during a stop in Kentucky. “We’ve got the insurance markets imploding all over the country, including in this state.”

 

Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com.

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