President Donald Trump announced on Monday that he would invest $100m over three years to build the “largest single-payer health care system in the world,” in a campaign speech that has drawn criticism from some Republicans who say the president is failing to deliver on his promise to provide universal health care coverage.
Mr Trump has repeatedly promised that his signature healthcare law, known as the Affordable Care Act, would become law, and his administration has said it would start implementing the new legislation within 90 days of taking office.
However, Mr Trump has not set a timeline for getting to that goal.
While Mr Trump promised in the speech to build “the largest single-payer health care plan in the history of the world”, his team had previously said it had not yet identified the type of plan it wanted to pursue.
“We have been working with the states, and the states have been very, very cooperative,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at the White House on Monday.
“I think the idea is to have a plan that is universal, that is fully funded, that has a very good quality of care and that has to be affordable.”
And it also has to provide for the quality of life, the opportunity for children to have an education, to be able to go to work, to have healthcare coverage.
“While the $100million fund is the largest ever made available by the Trump administration, Mr Sanders said that it was not necessarily the largest of the money the president has pledged to use to build a health system.”
That would depend on what we get in terms of matching federal dollars, what we are able to get in other areas, but I think it is certainly large,” she said.
The plan would cost the federal government roughly $500m a year, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The White House said it was still considering whether to seek additional funding for the program, which is estimated to cost between $1.7 trillion and $2.3 trillion.
Mr Sanders said the new fund was a “tough call” for Mr Trump to make because it was “not something he has yet committed to”.”
There are so many different ways to do this, but at the end of the day, this is the only thing that we know that works,” she told reporters.
Mr Sessions, who was a senator from Alabama before being confirmed by Mr Trump as attorney-general, has argued that Mr Trump’s promise of universal healthcare coverage was not possible because the ACA required insurers to cover certain types of care, such as maternity care and mental health.
The ACA is a controversial piece of legislation that has faced fierce criticism from Republicans in Congress, who say it would be a step towards socialism, and many Democrats, who have argued that it would give the government too much power to impose its will on businesses.
The legislation is set to be unveiled at a White House ceremony on Tuesday afternoon.