Pelosi: GOP Does Not ‘Understand the Complexity’ of Delivering Access to Quality Health Care

Monday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) discussed Senate Republicans’ latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy Bill.

Pelosi said the GOP did not “understand the complexity” of the health care issue.

Partial transcript as follows:

 MITCHELL: The hearing on the Graham-Cassidy Bill to repeal Obamacare is the main event today on Capitol Hill. Hundreds of people lining up, many in wheelchairs hoping to get a spot in that hearing room and to be in clear sight of the senators weighing the merits of an evolving health care bill with no CBO score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi joins me now here. Madam Leader, this is extraordinary, the turnout, so quickly and overnight, the changes also in the bill aimed at several key states—Alaska, Kentucky, several others—where clearly the White House thinks they can try to turn some votes.

PELOSI: Well, it is interesting to see how people have turned out. But they’ve been turning out through the whole debate on overturning the Affordable Care Act. You see people with disabilities, all of whom have a pre-existing medical condition. We have the little lobbyist here, the children with pre-existing conditions. If you had one subject of the bill that you would address, pre-existing conditions, what is in jeopardy here, and the Republicans have made it worse with these further tweaks of last night.

MITCHELL: The White House was trying to say on the Sunday talk shows that pre-existing conditions are protected. Yet, when you look at the language, it gives the states the right to have the intention to protect, but there’s no guarantee to protect pre-existing conditions. And it penalizes many of the states that did the Medicaid plus, the Medicaid Advantage.

PELOSI: The expansion of Medicaid. The fact is is that what they’ve done in this bill is as bad as the other bill was. They’ve made it worse in terms of pre-existing conditions. In terms of Medicaid, which affects many people with pre-existing conditions, it makes matters worse. But it’s interesting to note the following. When they say people are covered with pre-existing, you can get insurance for pre-existing conditions—if you happen to have advanced cancer, it will cost you nearly $150,000.

MITCHELL: So it prices them out.

PELOSI: It doesn’t mean the insurance company won’t sell it to you. Under the Affordable Care Act, they couldn’t discriminate on the basis of price. Whatever your pre-existing condition, you qualify for insurance. You get insurance. It has nothing to do with pre-existing conditions. That’s the horror of it all. Yeah, it doesn’t prevent people from selling it to you if you have $150,000, or a heart condition—$50,000. I don’t know who they’re talking to, but that isn’t a guarantee to access if you have pre-existing conditions.

MITCHELL: If it passes the Senate, if they get those 50 votes this week and the deadline is Saturday, September 30, after which they need 60 votes—that is the effective deadline —if they get the votes, somehow persuade people to do it without having a real score from the CBO, what is the outlook in the House?

PELOSI: Well, let’s fight one fight at a time. I think it’s really important as people are weighing in, and again, the outside advocacy groups of patient groups and the rest, moms telling the stories about their children, children telling their own stories, that is what persuaded the Senate the last time. We hope that that will have an impact, that the people’s voices will be heard. As we do our inside maneuvering, that outside mobilization is essential. So I’m confident that it will be—but it’s not over yet because as you say, they’re proffering things and so transparent. I have a great deal of respect for Lindsey Graham. I had more respect when he said we don’t want any of these side deals. He named a few he didn’t like in past history and now they’re doing exactly that. He’s a great person. I don’t think they understand the complexity of what it is to deliver insurance so that people can have access to quality health care. So I think it will lose in the Senate, but it’s not over yet. So all of the advocacy is essential.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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