Nancy Pelosi says she’s ‘not a big fan’ of Medicare for All
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “health care for all,” rather than the Medicare for All proposal embraced by some leading Democratic presidential contenders, would be the wisest policy for the party as it seeks to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020.
Pelosi, who helped push the Affordable Care Act through Congress in 2010, said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday that Medicare for All would cost too much and that it’s clear many Americans don’t want to lose their private health insurance plans.
“I’m not a big fan of Medicare for All,” she said. “I welcome the debate. I think that we should have health care for all. I think the affordable care benefit is better than the Medicare benefit.”
Democrats should keep their focus on winning in the 2020 election, and that means promoting ideas that can draw wide support throughout the country, she said.
“Remember November,” Pelosi said, referring to the next election.
Two leading Democratic presidential contenders, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have embraced Medicare for All. Warren on Friday proposed a $20.5 trillion, 10-year plan to pay for an expansion of the government health system for the elderly that includes higher taxes on large companies and the wealthiest Americans.
Other candidates instead favor adding a public option to Obamacare, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Pelosi said she the party should embrace the goal of improving Americans’ access to health care through a variety of means.
“Hopefully as we emerge into the election year, the mantra will be more health care for all Americans,” Pelosi said. “Because there is a comfort level that some people have with their current private insurance that they have, and if that is to be phased out, let’s talk about it. But let’s not just have one bill that would do that.”
Pelosi made clear that her own preference is to improve on the Affordable Care Act, which has expanded health coverage for tens of millions of Americans through an expansion of Medicaid for the poor and private insurance that is sold through consumer exchanges.
By not backing Medicare for All, she’s siding with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, who is trying to win control of the Senate by picking up GOP-held seats in states like Maine, Arizona and Colorado.
Democrats won control of the House last year by winning dozens of Republican-held seats, many in districts that backed Trump in 2016.