House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday hailed the implementation of healthcare reform as "remarkable" and said Democrats are "very pleased" the central elements of the law are soon coming into force.
But Pelosi rejected that notion, saying Democrats are eager for more provisions to set in so that wary voters can come to understand how the changes will benefit them.
"We're very pleased that we're coming to a place now where we're going into implementation," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.
"It's going to be something so remarkable in terms of prevention and wellness; it's going to be something so great in terms of technology and ... electronic medical records.
"It's not going to be just about ... good healthcare in our country," she added, "it's going to be about good health in our country."
Some provisions of the Democrats' 2010 healthcare law are already in effect. Young adults are allowed to stay on their parents' insurance plans until age 26, for instance, and kids under the age of 19 may not be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
But the central parts of the law — a sweeping expansion of Medicaid, the establishment of state-based insurance markets and the requirement that almost everyone in the country obtain health coverage or face a financial penalty — don't begin until early next year.
With polls showing that the public is largely ignorant of what the law entails, some Democratic leaders are wary that any complications in implementation will quickly become election-year attack fodder for Republicans who unanimously opposed the law three years ago.
One powerful Democrat told The Hill last week that such complications are a top concern heading into the midterms.
“The White House is going to have to step up its game,” the lawmaker said. “The Republicans are doing everything they can to prevent success. ... The White House is going to need to understand that.”
Hoping to keep the issue in the news, House Republican leaders have scheduled another vote next week to repeal ObamaCare in its entirety — a move that also grants GOP freshmen the chance to vote on repeal for the first time. A Pelosi aide said Thursday that it will mark the 37th time GOP leaders have voted to repeal all or part of the law since it was enacted in 2010.
Pelosi on Thursday bashed the repeal vote, saying it "represents the bankruptcy of their [Republicans'] agenda."
If she's worried about implementation, there were no signs of it this week.
"They spent hundreds of millions of dollars opposing this bill and tattooing it to me, which I accept with great pride," Pelosi said. "But the fact is that when people sign up for this — and see what it means to them .— we just think it's going to really be liberating.
"We're pretty excited about it," she said.