“I’ve always said that the Affordable Care Act is something that was transformative,” Pelosi said Wednesday during a press conference on Capitol Hill marking the upcoming anniversary of the law on March 23.
“It helped us honor our promise of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to the American people. Life -- a healthier life,” she said. “Liberty to pursue their happiness, individual happiness because they could not—they wouldn’t be job-locked, stay in a job because someone in the family had preexisting medical condition or that they did themselves.”
“And just think, that you could be a photographer or writer,” Pelosi said, “start your own business, be self-employed, as well as change jobs or start a business and not have to be constrained by whether you had affordable and accessible quality health care.
“That’s what this legislation does,” she said.
Pelosi often has praised Obamacare in this way, saying it enables Americans to quit their jobs and become artists.
“We see it as an entrepreneurial bill,” Pelosi said in May 2010. “A bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.”
Last year, while marking the second anniversary of the health care law, Pelosi used a similar line, saying Obamacare allows you to quit your job and become “whatever.”
Pelosi also said many of the benefits of the law, which will not be fully implemented until January 2014, have already come into force.
“Many of the benefits have already been experienced by families,” she said. “More than 100 million Americans are receiving free preventative services, 105 million Americans no longer face lifetime limits, and that number will grow when the bill is fully in effect.”
Republicans, however, say once Obamacare is fully implemented it will harm the economy, through regulation and additional debt.
“Let’s just be honest about it, the bill hasn’t triggered yet fully,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Wednesday.
“When the young people in this country find out that they are going to be the generation of debtors and there’s no way they’re ever going to get out from underneath this kind of stuff,” he said.
“I’ve got to tell you, people don’t even realize how crushing it’s going to be after the first of this next year.”