Pelosi: 'Democrats Stand Tall in Support of the Affordable Care Act'

By Susan Jones | November 18, 2013 | 6:26am EST

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears on NBC's "Meet the Press with David Gregory" on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (Photo from NBC News website)

( - Despite the problems with the rollout of Obamacare, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday: "Democrats stand tall in support of the Affordable Care Act."

Pelosi made this statement in response to host David Gregory's question: "So final point: Democrats won't lose seats next year over Obamacare?"

She also said she stands by her famous words in March 2010, when she told the American people, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

"What I was saying there is we are a House and a Senate; we get a bill; we go to conference or we ping-pong it, and then you see what the final product is. However, I stand by what I said there. Yeah, when people see what is in the bill, they will like it, and they will.

"And so while there's a lot of hoopdey-doo and ado about what's happening now -- very appropriate -- I'm not criticizing. I'm saying it took a great deal for us to pass this bill. I said as we go up to the gate and the gate is locked, we'll unlock the gate; if we can't do that, we'll climb the fence; if the fence is too high, we'll pole vault in; if we can't do that, we'll helicopter in, but we'll get it done."

Pelosi told NBC's "Meet the Press with David Gregory" on Sunday that the first phase of Obamacare -- coverage of pre-existing conditions and children remaining on their parents' policies until age 26 -- "went very smoothly." She admitted that the dysfunctional website "has caused problems."

"The other -- but again, this is never thought to be easy. And the fact is, is it doesn't matter what we're saying here; what matters is what happens at the kitchen table of the American people and how they will have more affordability, more accessibility, better quality care, prevention, wellness, a healthier nation, of honoring the vows of our founders of life -- a healthier life -- liberty to pursue their happiness, not be chained by a policy."

Asked if she and other Democrats would be campaigning in support of Obamacare in swing districts, Pelosi hinted that she will emphasize the word "affordable," even though the insurance industry has warned that premiums are likely to rise.

"Well, the fact is, I'll get back to the Affordable Care Act, and the 'affordable' -- it was named that because it makes it affordable. And the experience in states where it is working -- in Kentucky and California and the rest where we have our own state marketplace, it's working very well."

Asked if Democrats will lose seats because of voters' anger about the law, she responded, "I don't think you can tell what will happen next year, but I will tell you this: Democrats stand tall in support of the Affordable Care Act.

"We have great candidates who are running who are concerned about our economy and are concerned that the government was shut down because of a whim on the part of the Republicans, costing us $25 billion to our economy and point-6 percent of our GDP growth. They're concerned that overwhelmingly, the American people support immigration reform, support background checks, support ENDA, ending discrimination against people in the workplace. All of these kinds of things are the concerns of the American people.

"Jobs will be the major issue in the campaign, as they always are. And this is an issue that has to be dealt with, but it doesn't mean, oh, it's a political issue, so we're going to run away from it (Obamacare). No, it's too valuable for the American people. What is important about it is that the American people are well-served, not who gets re-elected."

As for the 39 House Democrats who joined Republicans in passing a "Keep Your Plan" bill  on Friday, Pelosi said that was "political." "They responded politically," she said.

Pelosi had trouble defending her June 2009 comment that people who liked their current health insurance could keep it.

She twice suggested that she was talking about people who had their plans "until the enactment of the law."

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