Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House of Representatives

Pelosi Remarks at Press Event Unveiling the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions & Making Health Care More Affordable Act

March 26, 2019
Press Release
Washington D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats for a press event to unveil the Protecting Pre-Existing Conditions & Making Health Care More Affordable Act.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much.  Thank you very much for your kind wishes.

What was really kind and full of good wishes was all the turn out this weekend that our friends in the groups put out to observe the nine years since the ACA was signed into law – delivering a pillar of health and economic security that stands alongside Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as pillars of economic and health security for America’s working families.

Last night, in federal court, the Justice Department of the Trump Administration – you’d think they have more to do – decided to not only try to destroy protections for pre-existing conditions, but to tear down every last benefit and protection the ACA affords.

The GOP will never stop trying to destroy the affordable health care of America’s families.  I always think of Mr. Clyburn and John Lewis when they quote Martin Luther King, when he talks about, ‘of all the injustices, the most inhumane is the inequality of health care.’

And the Department of Justice becomes the Department of Injustice when it wants to tear down health care benefits.  Because as Dr. King said, ‘people could die’ – people could die.

In this House, with a Democratic Majority, we’re here to strengthen those protections and lower health care costs further.  Because this House, this Democratic House is For the People.

Today, under the leadership of our three distinguished Chairmen: Mr. Pallone of Energy and Commerce, Mr. Scott of Education and Labor, and Mr. Neal of Ways and Means Committee – the three Committees of jurisdiction, we’re going forward with the Protecting Pre-existing Conditions and Making Health Care More Affordable Act.

That’s a line for applause.

[Applause]

They and other Members, and Members of our Freshman Class will be speaking more to the particulars of the legislation, but suffice to say it lowers health care insurance premiums, stops junk plans, strengthens protections for pre-existing conditions and reverses the GOP health care sabotage.

Protecting and strengthening health care is why Democrats are here.  On day one, the first day, as we were sworn in the 116th Congress, the House voted to intervene against Republicans’ monstrous health care lawsuit.

We continued to work on legislation to lower prescription drug prices for seniors and families across America.  And today, led by our Freshmen, we are taking another big step forward to lower health care costs for the American people.

And with that, I’m pleased to yield to the distinguished House Democratic Leader, Mr. Hoyer.

***

Speaker Pelosi.  That was beautiful Andy.

As you can see, our distinguished Chairs of the committees are prepared to end the sabotage and improve the Affordable Care Act, but our new Members – our Members of the Freshman Class – have come in with their own ideas on how to make the Affordable Care Act even better and more serviceable to the people that we serve.  Thank you.

Thank you Angie Craig.  Thank you Lauren Underwood.  Thank you Andy Kim.  And, thank you Susan Wild – her family glitch legislation.

When we fought for the Affordable Care Act – those of us who did, who are here – we did so with the idea – it doesn’t have a very glamorous name: the Affordable Care Act.  But, we decided to just call it affordable because that was the whole point, was affordable care.

And because people needed affordability, as has been said, in order to have accessibility.  And, of course, we want it to be quality.

And so, here we are these nine years later, with the Administration coming in with a lawsuit to eliminate this access to affordable care.

I just want to make this one point: all during the campaign, the Republican candidates and the Republican incumbents were saying that they supported the pre-existing condition benefit despite the fact that they had voted over and over and over again to repeal it.

And we said, ‘If you support it, then why don’t you disassociate yourself from the lawsuit?’  Even, in one of the Senate races, one of the attorneys general in the lawsuit was saying he supported pre-existing conditions.

So, there’s an inconsistency, if not a hypocrisy, here.  Why would you mislead the American people that way?  Why would you say you support the benefit of a pre-existing condition when you voted to eliminate it and now overwhelmingly are part of a lawsuit to eliminate it and support an Administration who wants to do away with the whole bill?

The whole bill not only provided 20 million people with care who didn’t have care, it provided better benefits for over 150 million families in America by eliminating, as Mr. Pallone said earlier, by eliminating the pre-existing condition obstacle, by eliminating the limitations, the caps – the annual and the lifetime caps.  The list goes on how the benefits that were improved and how we put it on the path to affordability.

What they are doing is very destructive.  We won’t let them do that.  We will fight them in the Congress and in the courts For The People.  That’s what we promised in the campaign For The People: lower health care costs.  This is one aspect of it, more to come.

I want to thank our Freshmen for being who they are coming to the Congress with fresh ideas on how to make things better, very closely connected to their constituents, fresh from the trenches.  Thank you, Angie Craig, thank you, Lauren Underwood, thank you, Andy Kim, thank you, Susan Wild.  I know my distinguished chairmen in leadership thank them as well.

And I want to make a special note to the outside groups.  We would have never been able to pass the Affordable Care Act with just our inside maneuvering.  It was the outside mobilization that made the success possible.  Lincoln said, ‘Public sentiment is everything.’  They went out there.  They saved the Affordable Care Act over the past two years with 10,000 events.  10,000 events across the nation.

Last night, when I talked to them on the phone, we had our regular call, didn’t know what subject might come up – health care, health care, health care, health care.  So, let us thank them.

[Applause]

And thank all of you.