House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that the Founding Fathers would be pleased with Obamacare because it means that Americans can pursue happiness without being stuck with a job just to have health insurance.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks on health care to the media following her meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, D.C., April 1, 2014. (AFP/Jewel Samad)
“There have been critics [of the law] and there have been bumps in the road, but they've only been turbulence,” Pelosi told reporters after a White House meeting with President Barack Obama. “They have not been an obstacle to the American people having healthier lives that our founders wanted for them, like a healthier life, liberty, the freedom to pursue their happiness — not job lock, the self-employed, the photographer, small business, those who want to change jobs and reach their aspirations.”
The California Democrat said the Affordable Care Act rollout has not been flawless, but that the consensus among Democrats is "we're going to ride this out, and you can't be afraid of one thing or another.”
"“While the website didn't work, the principles of the legislation were very, very important and we are wedded to them as we go forward," she said. "Me, I wanted single-payer. I wanted public option. That wasn't the consensus of the House and the Senate. So that didn't pass.”
The White House announced Tuesday that 7 million people had signed up for Obamacare-approved insurance plans, the goal believed needed to cover the cost of the law, after the March 31 deadline to sign up for coverage.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday he did not know how many of the new enrollees previously did not have health insurance, a key factor.
A reported 4.2 million Americans had their health insurance plans canceled because of Obamcare regulations. If both numbers are correct, more people have signed up for Obamacare than lost their insurance.
Pelosi said in response to a question from TheBlaze that taking care of the uninsured was just one goal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that passed in 2010, which mandated that individuals buy and employers provide health insurance or pay a federal fine.
“The measure is twofold. It measures how many people have access to quality, affordable health care and insurance than who didn't,” Pelosi said. “The really important reason to do the Affordable Care Act ... was the cost of health care in our country was unsustainable. It was unsustainable to small businesses, to individuals, to corporate America, its a competitive issue internationally and also to state and local and certainly to the federal budgets.”
Pelosi said the law will save money on health spending, but seemed to address the widely reported increase in premiums.
“Even if they pay a little more in some cases, they're getting much better care,” Pelosi said. “They no longer have preexisting conditions as a barrier to getting access to care. This is about the quality and affordability — and affordability, that's why it has that name. It's affordable to individuals, to businesses and to the public sector. We've already decreased the rate of increase in Medicaid, the cost of Medicare and the rest. This thing again is not just about who has it and who doesn't. It's who has what and many more people now have affordable, quality health care."