Other Republican senators have expressed optimism that a bill can still be passed. "I'm very encouraged, very encouraged". "Of course, it's not everything I want, but that's life".
He said that he doesn't believe states can afford to keep Medicaid expansion under current law.
"We need to bring this to an end and move to taxes", said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. "On the other hand, I like the coverage and I know that's been instrumental in expanding coverage".
But the internal policy divisions that Republicans will face over tax reform - which deductions to erase, the border tax, etc. - won't be any easier than the ones they're now grappling with over healthcare reform.
President Donald Trump pressed Republican congressional leaders on Tuesday to complete their overhaul of the USA healthcare system as lawmakers said they were making progress on a contentious effort that threatens to overwhelm their legislative agenda. If the matter is referred to a House-Senate Conference Committee, that is likely to slow the process down to the point where there may be no opportunity to produce a bill that could pass both chambers before the summer recess.
He was non-committal about when that would happen. Were I a betting man, I'd be betting that we'll get to the beginning of August when the recess begins with no health care reform bill, no tax reform bill, a Fiscal Year 2018 budget that is so incomplete that people will likely be talking about the risk of a government shutdown, and a White House largely paralyzed by the Russian Federation investigation and a President with a Twitter habit that continually undercuts whatever agenda his aides are trying to push on a given day.
President Trump raised expectations for his domestic policy agenda Tuesday as he met with congressional Republican leaders - predicting the "biggest tax cut in US history" and Senate passage of a health care bill by summer's end.
They narrowed down legislative options at a meeting Tuesday attended by Vice President Mike Pence.
Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act is the centerpiece of Trump's legislative agenda, but congressional Republicans have been unable to coalesce around a suitable plan to do so.
The House healthcare bill could result in 23 million people losing insurance, the Congressional Budget Office estimated, although Republicans have challenged that conclusion.
"Obviously it does something for pre-existing conditions, that's incredibly important to the American people", he said.
Republican senators appear to be aware of the potential problems.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said the Senate was "getting there, but it still needs to work for me".
"I'm still nervous because it's tough to get 50 votes in this environment", he said. "Now's the time to start coming up with some tangible alternatives and building consensus", Cornyn said on Monday night.
The Trump administration has outlined a broad plan that would cut tax rates for businesses and streamline the tax system for individuals.
On Tuesday, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced plans to stop offering coverage in all but one OH county because of the market upheaval.
Republican leaders aren't necessarily wrong that a drawn-out healthcare fight, fueled by seemingly unbridgeable differences over thorny issues like Medicaid, could jeopardize other Republican policy items like tax reform, immigration, infrastructure, and the budget. "That means another 20 counties in the state of OH will have no health care plan".
"What a great team this is", Trump said ahead of Tuesday's meeting.
"The way to get companies to come back to these counties is to say you're going to do cost-sharing permanently", Schumer said.