Video Emerges of Nancy Pelosi Backing Single-Payer Health Care in 1993

Nancy Pelosi 1996 (J. David Ake / AFP / Getty)
J. David Ake / AFP / Getty

Video from 1993 has re-emerged showing Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) backing single-payer, government-run health care — though the current Speaker of the House claims to oppose that policy today.

Pelosi told a news conference: “I remain a staunch and ardent supporter of the McDermott-Conyers bill.”

She was referring to H.R. 1200 of the 103rd Congress, the “American Health Security Act of 1993,” which proposed a “single-payer,” government-run health insurance system.

The bill was introduced in the House by Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Jim McDermott (D-WA), and in the Senate by the late liberal stalwart Paul Wellstone (D-MN).

One version of the 1993 C-SPAN clip appears to have been generated in 2017, but resurfaced this weekend, after Pelosi criticized the “Medicare for All” plan proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), which would cost $52 trillion.

“I think the closer [President Bill Clinton] moves toward the single-payer [model], the better,” Pelosi said at the time.

The legislation was also backed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who is now, coincidentally, playing a key role in the “impeachment inquiry” against President Donald Trump.

The proposal would have provided universal health care to every American who was legally resident in the country: notably, it did not automatically cover illegal aliens, though it left that issue up to the states’ discretion.

The program was to have been administered by the states, with federal assistance. The bill declared:

There is hereby established in the United States a State-Based American Health Security Program to be administered by the individual States in accordance with Federal standards specified in, or
established under, this Act.

Every individual who is a resident of the United States and is a citizen or national of the United States or lawful resident alien (as defined in subsection (d) is entitled to benefits for health care services under this Act under the appropriate State health security program. In this section, the term “appropriate State health security program” means, with respect to an individual, the State health security program for the State in which the individual maintains a primary residence.

The new universal health care system was to be paid for by increases in income taxes, especially on the wealthy, who faced a “surtax” if they earned over $1 million.

Today, critics note, Pelosi has pronounced herself skeptical of plans such as “Medicare for All.”

Fox News noted on Sunday that Pelosi still wanted to achieve universal health care coverage, but preferred to do so by expanding Obamacare — which theoretically relies on private insurance — and not Medicare, a public insurance program that applies to seniors.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Photo: file

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