In an interview on ABC’s This Week, Nancy Pelosi was asked about the real fear many Congressmen have of losing their seats if they vote for the unpopular healthcare bill. She said: “They know that it will take courage to pass health care. But why are we here? We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress. We’re here to do the job for the American people….”
The three fixes proposed by Obama at the Feb 25 Blair House summit, she said, are to improve affordability for the middle class, and thus access; to close the “doughnut hole” in the Medicare prescription drug benefit; and to eliminate the “Nebraska fix” to give “equity” to all the states in paying for the Medicaid expansions.
When asked whether it might have been helpful for Obama to put his ideas on the table months ago, before they had fought so hard for the public option he is willing to eliminate, she said that the problem of keeping insurance companies honest had been fixed.
“Left to their own devices, the insurance companies have done harm to the American people. They need to be regulated,” she said. That means federal regulations in addition to the myriad state regulations. The goal is affordability; the means is to prevent denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. The effect of guaranteed issue—huge premium increases—was not brought up in the interview.
Pelosi did not answer the question of whether she has 217 votes, nor did she address the question on the abortion coverage dispute.
The House, she said, is now working on legislative language, which is supposed to make everything clear. More than Republican amendments are included, she said, making it effectively a bipartisan bill even if no Republicans vote for it.