House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said one of the changes Democrats can push to improve Obamacare could be raising the cap to ensure more people qualify for subsidies.
Speaking at the Daughters of Charity Health Center in New Orleans on Saturday, Pelosi said her party’s focus is on “resist repeal and stop the sabotage” if Republicans instead try to chip away the Affordable Care Act piece by piece.
“They will try to defund the Affordable Care Act — that is one way to sabotage it — they will try to not enforce the law in terms of the mandate, and if you do those two things they would raise premiums about 30-35 percent and that increases the price to be just unsustainable,” she said.
Pelosi added that Dems don’t intend to leave Obamacare as-is, though.
“There has never been a perfect bill that has passed the Congress of the United States. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, they’ve all been amended once you see the implementation… one of the things we have to do is make the access to it cover people at a little higher income that are there now,” she said. “Right now it’s 400 percent of poverty; benefits should go to 500 percent — that’s related to poverty, but there are just some people who have fallen at this place where they’re just above, and don’t make the cut for subsidies.”
“…If you were talk about some things, the individual market where those people fall is a place where we need to address, more access, more affordability.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) recently sat down with President Trump to talk prescription drug prices. “This is very, very important, it’s something we’ve reached out to the president, we’ve reached out to the Republicans, over and over again to have a change in the law regarding prescription drugs,” Pelosi said.
“We believe that the Secretary of Health and Human Services should have the ability to negotiate for lower prices, that there are other provisions we can discuss,” she continued. “The president said during the campaign that he was interested in doing that. He has even reached out to two of my colleagues on that score, that would probably be one of the things that we do that affects so many people because access to prescription drugs is — the doctor talked about giving them a stack of prescriptions, but unless they can afford the prescriptions, well… now, much of it is covered in the Affordable Care Act unless you fall into that place where you don’t quite make the cut. So again, it comes down to how we can make the benefit more affordable.”
Pelosi insisted these “are not changes to the Affordable Care Act but things the Republicans are allowing now to happen with the Affordable Care Act.”
“For example we had, reinsurance, that was really important in terms of the private sector aspect of it. It’s a private sector initiative this was developed by the Heritage Foundation. They developed this individual mandate and recognition that everyone could not afford to take responsibility for the mandate so subsidies went with that. We’re saying here, let subsidies go to a little higher income folks.”
Pelsoi addd that reinsurance “is lapsing, so we want Republicans to allow reinsurance, which is helpful to the private sector aspects of it.”
“There’s things called ‘risk corridors’ — not to get into the technicalities of it but where the money is there to cover the risk, but Republicans would not let that money get spent,” she said. “So it’s not always just improving the enforcement of the bill and that’s something I hope we can do, because the goal would be bring costs down. That was one of the primary goals of the Affordable Care Act, it did that and with it, it brought costs back down place lower than any place in 50 years or more that they’ve been measuring that.”