Pelosi says Democrats will 'stand tall' in 2014 in support of Obamacare
By Tom Curry, National Affairs Writer, NBC News
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are not losing confidence
in President Barack Obama's ability to make the Affordable Care Act
work and don't fear Obamacare's effect on their chances in next year's
Appearing Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Pelosi said,
"I don't think you can tell what will happen next year" when voters
cast ballots in the mid-term elections, but "I will tell you this:
Democrats stand tall in support of the Affordable Care Act."
said implementation of the health care overhaul "is an issue that has
to be dealt with, but it doesn't mean, ‘oh, this is a political issue
so we're going to run away from it.'"
She said jobs will be the major issue in the 2014 campaign, not Obamacare.
to the nervousness some congressional Democrats are expressing about
the debut of Obamacare, Pelosi said "What I love about health care
professionals is that they're calm. And we must remain calm when we
talk about the health of our country."
She added, "You can't be knocked for a loop just because somebody is playing politics."
an indication of Democratic jitters' over Obamacare, on Friday 39 of
Pelosi's House Democrats joined with 222 Republicans to vote for a bill
sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton, R- Mich., that would allow health
insurance firms to continue to sell insurance plans next year that
don't comply with Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements.
Democrats included several who are in toss-up races such as Rep. Ron
Barber of Arizona and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire.
Explaining why those Democrats voted for the Upton bill, Pelosi said,
"When the Republicans put forth a political initiative, people respond
to it politically."
The Democrats need a net gain of 17 seats to
recapture the majority in the House which they lost in the landslide
election of 2010.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) "is a very
important pillar of economic and health security for the American
people" and "is right up there with Social Security (and) Medicare,
affordable care for all Americans as a right, not a privilege," the
California Democrat said.
In states such as Kentucky and her own state of California, Pelosi said, "It's working very well."
said she stands by what she said before the bill passed, "I stand by
what I said there: when people see what is in the bill they will like
-- and they will."
Pelosi said the software problems that plague the enrollment website Healthcare.gov are "terrible," but "will be fixed."
fumbled the rollout on this health care law," Obama said at a press
conference Thursday. The troubled debut of the enrollment process has
not only created problems for tens of thousands of Americans seeking
insurance coverage, but has fed a growing sense of unease among
congressional Democrats as they look to the 2014 elections and at
Obama's waning popularity.
Obama repeatedly pledged "if you like
your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," but that
pledge turned out to be false for many Americans who bought coverage in
the individual market. Their plans don't comply with the minimum
benefit requirements of the ACA and they got cancellation notices.
said Thursday that he knew "how upsetting this can be for a lot of
Americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if
they had a plan that they liked, they could keep it. "
the transition, Obama said he has decided to allow insurers to extend
into next year current insurance plans that would otherwise be
canceled. "Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to
re-enroll in the same kind of plan," he said.
But some state
insurance commissioners quickly rejected his idea. The National
Association of Insurance Commissioners said allowing individual
insurance plans that don't comply with ACA requirements to continue
into 2014 "threatens to undermine the new market, and may lead to
higher premiums and market disruptions in 2014 and beyond."
it's unclear if insurance companies can un-cancel thousands of policies
that they are cancelling due to the ACA requirements.