Nancy Pelosi can’t defend her own Obamacare health plan promise

Nancy Pelosi

In case you missed Meet the Press yesterday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was confronted by host David Gregory about a promise she made in 2009, similar to the guarantee made by President Barack Obama, that Americans could keep the plans they have under Obamacare.

Then-Speaker of the House, Pelosi said “if you like [the health plan] you have, and you want to keep, you have the choice to do that.” Gregory noted that President Obama has held himself “accountable” for making such a claim and asked Pelosi, who had a blank look on her face after seeing the clip, if she was accountable for a promise that has been proven false as millions of Americans have lost their health plans.

She had no real defense and pivoted to talking points, hoping that Gregory would allow her to deflect from the issue. He didn’t, and hilarity ensued.

“Well, it’s not that it’s not correct, it’s that if you want to keep it and it’s important for the insurance company to say to people, this is what your plan does, it’s doesn’t prevent you from being discriminated against on the basis of preexisting conditions, lifetime limits, annual limits,” Pelosi said before Gregory cut her off.

There is a bottom line which people understand and the President won’t acknowledge, and that is if the government has decided there has to be minimum requirements in any healthcare plan, so if you have something and you like it, and it doesn’t meet what the government says you have to have, you cannot keep it,” Gregory told Pelosi. “That’s not what you said here.”

“If you have you plan before the enactment of the law in 2010. If you had your plan before,” Pelosi said, defensively. “There is nothing in the law that says you have to.”

This is a tricky statement because she’s right, there is nothing in the law that says Americans must enroll in a government-mandate plan if they remain in a plan they had when the law was enacted.

The problem with the statement is that there is a high turnover in the insurance market and because the grandfathered plan regulations were written so narrowly, virtually any change in the law means that plans would lose their grandfathered status.

In other words, it was bound to happen, and the Obama Administration even predicted that the vast majority of Americans on the individual market would lose their plans. It was inevitable. What’s more, it was necessary if the administration wanted the law to work.

Gregory continued to hammer away at the issue. “This is an important deal because the grandfathering has changed,” he said. “The President is acknowledging, and it doesn’t seem like you’re acknowledging that people, saying to people back in 2009, ‘You can keep what you have. This is all about choice.’”

Pelosi had nothing in response. It wasn’t even coherent. She rambled, not completely her sentences, before eventually going on to “commend” President Obama.

“You could if you had your plan until the enactment of the law in 2000,” she said (the year isn’t a typo, she didn’t complete the date). “Any pre — grandfathering is for those before 2000,” she added, again not completing the date, and again repeating the misleading claim that there was “nothing in the law” that required cancellations.

In the end, Pelosi wouldn’t apologize for making the statement and insisted that Democrats will run on Obamacare in the 2014 election, despite President Obama’s falling approval rating and lack of public support for Obamacare.

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