"He said, 'No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that seniors have so carefully put away over a lifetime so they may enjoy dignity in their later years,' " Pelosi said in video broadcast by ABC-13 in Houston. "With the stroke of a pen, he made that transformation, but now in Washington, with the stroke of a law that they hope to pass, there are those who would repeal, would eliminate, those securities."

Pelosi's comments came just days after Standard & Poor's downgraded U.S. debt to an "AA+" rating, based in large part on the difficulty Washington has agreeing to cutting entitlement programs. S&P warned that in the event of a failure to make further cuts, as the debt-ceiling agreement requires by the end of this year, a further debt downgrade could occur.

Pelosi and other Democrats have argued that new tax revenue is needed to help resolve the debt crisis. While S&P did cite new tax revenue as a factor that would help, the rating agency said not allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire could still allow the U.S. to avoid another downgrade.