In an exclusive interview with ABC News, President Donald Trump declared he would be announcing a “phenomenal” new health care plan within the next two months, and said health care would be a priority leading up to his 2020 re-election campaign.
"We almost had health care done. Health care's a disaster …” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, apparently referring to the GOP effort to overturn Obamacare that failed when Sen. John McCain cast a deciding vote against it, much to Trump's continuing annoyance.
"If we win back the House, we're going to produce phenomenal health care. And we already have the concept of the plan, but it'll be less expensive than Obamacare by a lot."
The president has long promised to cut health care costs and cover more Americans, while still preserving core Obamacare expansions like guaranteeing coverage for those with pre-existing conditions.
When Trump was pressed for more details about his new health care plan, Trump said his administration would be announcing changes “in about two months. Maybe less.”
But senior White House officials have told ABC News that they’re far away from putting together an actual health care bill.
Instead, these officials say, the administration is crafting a set of “high-level principles” that outlines the president’s vision and could from the basis for future legislation.
The process is being headed up by the president’s Domestic Policy Council, with input from the Department of Health and Human Services among other executive offices, according to officials.
A draft of the principles is circulating within the administration, according to one official, who could not offer a timeline of when it might be made public because the process is in the early stages.
One official said the principles outlined will be similar to past proposals supported by the White House on past failed attempts to reform the healthcare system, saying it will seek to address affordability, premiums, and protections for pre-existing condition protections.
The president outlined his vision Tuesday night for Republicans to campaign on his plan in the 2020 election and then vote on it right after the election, assuming Republicans hold the White House and Senate, while also regaining the House.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday blasted the president for working on a new health care plan.
“The American people already know exactly what the President’s health care plans mean in their lives: higher costs, worse coverage and the end of lifesaving protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” Pelosi said in a statement.
"President Trump has waged an assault on health care since the start, and continues to order the Justice Department to ask the courts to destroy protections for people with pre-existing conditions and strike down every other protection and guarantee of affordable health care for America’s families. And since Day One, the Trump Administration has worked relentlessly to push families into disastrous junk plans, increase their health care costs and gut their health care protections," she continued.
Over in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was “anxious” to see Trump’s new plan.
“We’re anxious to see what the president recommends,” the Kentucky Republican said Monday during an interview with "Fox and Friends."
“There’s a space there for the president to advocate for something and we’re looking forward to seeing what he’s going to recommend,” he said.
“What he’s doing is through the executive branch, through regulations, expanding health care for a lot of Americans, which he can do on his own,” he said.
He added: “He has said he’s going to lay a plan out, and he has said it would be dealt with after the election when we get a Congress that’s more sympathetic to our approach to health care.”
Earlier in the year, McConnell and several Senate Republicans had signaled their unwillingness to tackle health care anytime soon, after their numerous attempts at taking down Obamacare amounted to nothing.
In April, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that he had smacked down Trump’s hopes for a renewed fight to replace Obamacare.
“We had a good conversation yesterday afternoon... I made it clear to him that we were not going to be doing that in the Senate," McConnell said of health care reform.
The Republican Leader told reporters that he reminded the president of “Senate Republicans view on dealing with comprehensive health care reform with a Democratic House of Representatives," and that they had been unable to achieve health care reform during the last GOP-controlled Congress.
"As he later tweeted, [the president] accepted that and that he would be developing a plan that he would take to the American people during the 2020 campaign and suggests that that's what he would be advocating in a second term if there were a Republican Congress," he said.
ABC News' Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.