That Time Pelosi Said Obamacare’s Success Shouldn’t Be Measured By How Many New People Have Insurance

Posted: Mar 18, 2017 12:00 PM

Let’s go back to April of 2014 when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the measure of Obamacare’s success isn’t based on the number of people who now have insurance.

Based on the press release from April 1, 2014, a reporter asked Pelosi the following, “Madam Leader, isn’t the real measure of success not the raw number who signed up, but how many of those who signed up were not insured before?” Pelosi’s answer was “no” [emphasis mine]:

No. The measure is two-fold. The measure is how many more people have access to health care – quality, affordable, health care and insurance – than who didn’t before. But also, the really important reason to do the Affordable Care Act: if everyone loves his or her insurer and their health care – which was not the case – but even if they did, the real reason to do the Affordable Care Act, which could not be avoided, was the cost of health care in our country was unsustainable – unsustainable to individuals, to small businesses, to corporate America, to the competitive issue internationally and also to state and local and certainly the federal budget. So what this legislation has done is it will save a trillion dollars over the lifetime of the bill. And it will reduce costs for people.

And even if they pay a little more in some cases, they’re getting much better care. No longer do they have pre-existing conditions be a barrier to their getting access to care. Over 100 million people in our country have a pre-existing condition.

So this is about the quality and the affordability. And affordability: that’s why it has that name. It’s affordable, again, to individuals, to families, to businesses, and to the public sector in terms of the role.

We’ve already decreased the rate of increase in terms of the cost of Medicare and the rest. So this again is not just about who has it and who doesn’t. It’s a question of who has what, and many more people now have affordable quality health care. Some who may have moved policies have better coverage – no pre-existing conditions as a barrier; no lifetime caps; no annual caps; no longer being a woman is a pre-existing medical condition. Women were discriminated against in the marketplace, in many cases paying 40 percent more. So that is what I think is the measure.

Well, no—the Affordable Care Act hasn’t made health care more affordable, especially for the middle class. Premiums are skyrocketing—and most are covered thanks to Medicaid expansion, which isn’t quality care. In fact, those who are uninsured fare better than those who are enrolled in this program. Funny how in 2014, the raw number of new Americans having health insurance wasn’t considered a measure of the law’s success, while Democrats are now harping about how many Americans might lose their insurance under the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan. Expected? Yes—this is politics. Moreover, no one is going to die if we repeal Obamacare, though I know some progressives would love to have that ammunition to use against the GOP. And no one has been saved by the law either.

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