With her chief legislative accomplishment under attack from the political left and political right, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a friendly crowd here Wednesday afternoon that much is at stake in the fight to preserve the nearly decade-old Affordable Care Act.
“The times have found us,” the California Democrat said, quoting a Founding Father, Thomas Paine. “This is a moment for us — the times have found us — to save our country.”
The 2010 health care overhaul, guided through Congress during Pelosi’s first tenure as House speaker, faces a lawsuit that could end it, ongoing Republican criticisms of it, and a desire by many on the political left to replace it with a single-payer, Medicare for all health care system.
In a conference room at the Omni Interlocken Hotel, Pelosi sat on stage with U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, and Colorado’s insurance commissioner, Michael Conway. The trio took questions posed by Neguse and a few pre-selected members of the crowd.
“We continue to fight like hell to save the Affordable Care Act,” Conway said.
He discussed work being done to improve health care coverage in Colorado, such as the state’s recent investment in reinsurance. Pelosi recalled the Affordable Care Act’s rocky road to passage — “Thank God for the nuns!” she said of some of the bill’s most vocal advocates — and ongoing efforts in Congress to lower the cost of insulin and prescription drugs.
“The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and it is the job of the Justice Department to defend the law of the land,” Pelosi said of a lawsuit that could dismantle the ACA, which is supported by the Trump administration’s Justice Department.
“This is a highly unusual situation, but it is a fight we’re ready for and we’re confident in how iron-clad, constitutionally, the law is,” Pelosi added. When asked by Neguse how citizens can help to protect the ACA, Pelosi said, “Vote.”
Before the event, dozens of protesters stood near the hotel, carrying signs and calling on Congress to adopt a single-payer health care system. They thanked Neguse for supporting a Medicare for All plan this year and urged Pelosi to do the same.