Nancy Pelosi on Obamacare: ‘I Wanted Single Payer'

By Barbara Hollingsworth | October 10, 2016 | 2:16pm EDT
Screenshot of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's Oct. 9, 2016 appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press".

( –  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) confessed Sunday on Meet the Press that “I wanted single payer” after host Chuck Todd pressed her to acknowledge that there are problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

Pelosi made the remark after Todd asked her to acknowledge the fact that middle class Americans and small businesses are “really struggling” with rising premiums under ACA.

“I wanted single payer-- I mean, I'd love a single payer, but we’re not there. I wanted a public option, which would address that,” Pelosi responded, adding that Democrats want to improve the health care law, while Republicans want to repeal it.

She also argued that former President Bill Clinton’s recent comment calling Obamacare “the craziest thing in the world” was not damaging to Democrats because “20 million more people have access to affordable, quality healthcare.”

Here’s a transcript of the exchange:

Todd: “How damaging were Bill Clinton's comments about Obamacare when he said it was -- call it, ‘the craziest thing,’ talking about folks getting squeezed in the middle. Small businesses, folks, basically, that are not eligible for subsidies. And even when he clarified it, he basically circled what he believes, what he circled was essentially the issue that Republicans are bringing up on the campaign trail.”

Pelosi: “Not damaging at all.”

Todd: “You don't think it's damaging at all?”

Pelosi: “No, I mean, the Affordable Care Act, 20 million more people have access to affordable, quality healthcare. Not only that, tens of millions more are no longer subjected to pre-existing conditions, eliminating…”

Todd: “Do you acknowledge this problem with premiums? And do you acknowledge this problem in the middle here with small businesses really struggling?”

Pelosi: “I wanted single payer-- I mean, I'd love a single payer, but we’re not there. I wanted a public option, which would address that. But we've never done anything, whether it was Social Security, Medicare and the rest where we haven't said, ‘Let's see how it works and let's improve it.’

“But no, I wouldn't worry about that. But what I do think is that the Affordable Care Act stands there with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act as a pillar of health and economic security for America’s families.

“And I think it's really important to know that the Republicans have voted over 65 times to eliminate it. And they have voted more than one time to dismantle Medicare by taking away the guarantee. The Ryan budget takes away the guarantee. [Vice presidential candidate Mike] Pence voted for that three times.”

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