Pelosi: Public Opposes Obamacare Because ‘Understanding of it Has Been Jeopardized by Misrepresentations’

By Edwin Mora | June 7, 2012 | 9:11 PM EDT

( -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the reason why many Americans oppose Obamacare is because “the understanding of it has been jeopardized by misrepresentations,” adding that the public’s opposition is “not about the bill, it’s about the message of it.”

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At a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday, Pelosi was asked about a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing that 41 percent of Americans want to see the Supreme Court overturn the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) in its entirety, and another 27 percent said they want to see just the mandate requiring all citizens to buy health insurance struck down.

After citing those numbers, a reporter then asked, “Why do you think that is and what does that say in terms of the chance that the Supreme Court striking it down?”

Pelosi said, “I’m very proud of the Affordable Care Act. I think that the understanding of it has been jeopardized by misrepresentations that have been put out there relentlessly, largely by the industries that have -- I shouldn’t say not benefited because they all, everybody benefits from this health care bill -- but who claim to have suffered from the bill.”

She continued: “Here’s the thing: the American Affordable Care Act stands there with Social Security, Medicare, health care for all Americans as a right, not a privilege. It was opposed vigorously by two forces, one the health insurance industry and secondly by anti-government ideologues who do not believe that there should be a government role in either in clean air, clean water, as well as health care in our country.”

“We don’t want our proposal to have any more government than it needs,” she said. “It’s very private-sector oriented. It’s market oriented. It’s about prevention. It’s about innovation. It’s about life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for the American people because it frees them, unlocks them from a job that they may keep only because of the health benefits to pursue their happiness.”

“If there were no other reason to do the health care reform bill than the fact that it is -- the status quo at the time was financially and fiscally unsustainable for individuals the rising cost of health care and the uncertainty of what those costs would be for businesses,” said Pelosi.

“The same thing for governments whether it’s local government, county government, or state government, federal government, [it is] unsustainable,” she said, “the rising cost of health care and for our economy because the cost of health care is a competitiveness issue and our business, and our private sector would find hard to compete globally with this anvil of ever increasing uncertain health cost increases. So, it was unsustainable.”

She the repeated claims that Obamacare will reduce health care costs and increase coverage for Americans.

What the health care law “does is take us to a place where will we bend the curve, reduce the cost of health care, not only to the federal government, but to our economies and to families,” said Pelosi, adding “that it will improve the quality of care, that it will increase access and it will do so in a way that is very innovative about the future, a heavy emphasis on prevention and wellness that also reduce cost.”

Pelosi continued: “The public doesn’t generally know that, that children in American, over 80 million people in America have already benefited from the bill; that whether there is ending discrimination against children because of an existing medical condition; whether it was these wellness prevention once-a-year check ups that are now people, specially our seniors are getting; whether it’s lowering the cost of prescription drugs for seniors by closing the donut hole. But I bet you if you went to a pharmacy right now and you saw a senior purchasing pharmaceuticals, prescription drugs, and they know, and those drugs are cheaper now because of the bill, they would not relate it to the Affordable Care Act.”

“And so it’s not about the bill, it’s about the message of it,” she said. “And, again, the public was so inoculated against any positive message about the bill because of those who were trying to defeat it, that it’s a long road back.”

In March 2012, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showed that Obamacare will be double the cost ($1.76 billion) of its original $900 billion price tag.

The CBO also projected that between 3 and 5 million people will lose their employer-provided health care coverage and that 1 to 2 million more people will not qualify for the insurance exchanges provided under the law. Overall, 30 million will still lack health coverage under the law, the CBO reported.

A reporter than followed up and asked, “What happened to the Democratic side of message war, because it seems to be going to only one side?”

“Well when you have endless money and money is really a factor in opinions and elections in our country,” Pelosi said, later emphasizing that “the misrepresentations [and the] endless money misrepresenting suffocate the debate. It’s a dangerous thing.”