Pelosi: 'I'm not a big fan of Medicare for All'

Pelosi: 'I'm not a big fan of Medicare for All'
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrip that led to acting Navy secretary's resignation cost 3K: reports Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal House Republicans, key administration officials push for additional funding for coronavirus small business loans MORE (D-Calif.) said Friday that she is “not a big fan” of "Medicare for All," the health care proposal advocated by progressives that has gained ground in the Democratic Party, especially among its presidential candidates.

“I'm not a big fan of Medicare for All,” Pelosi told Bloomberg. “I mean I welcome the debate, I think that we should have health care for all.”

Pelosi has previously declined to embrace a push among progressive lawmakers for the health care proposal and has raised doubts about the idea, though her latest remarks are more critical than statements earlier this year, when she said she was “agnostic.”

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The comments come on the same day that Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Mnuchin, Schumer in talks to strike short-term relief deal | Small businesses struggling for loans | Treasury IG sends Dems report on handling of Trump tax returns Trump says Obama knows 'something that you don't know' about Biden Senators push for changes to small business aid MORE (D-Mass.), one of the party’s leading presidential contenders, released her Medicare for All plan, saying it would not directly raise taxes on the middle class.

Pelosi, though, raised concerns about the price tag of such a proposal, as well as the notion of eliminating private insurance, which she noted that some people like. 

“It is expensive,” she said of Medicare for All.

“There is a comfort level that some people have with their current private insurance that they have, and if that is to be phased out, let's talk about it, but let's not just have one bill that would do that,” she added. 

Given the push by many members of her caucus in the House for Medicare for All, Pelosi noted that she is hearing out the debate and that House committees have already held hearings on the proposal this year. 

“We have invited advocates for it to testify in Congress, in the Ways and Means Committee, in the Budget Committee, in the Rules Committee, being respectful of the point of view,” she said. 

Pelosi echoed some party strategists who have hoped for Democrats to emphasize that they want "health care for all," rather than fighting with each other over the best way to do that, as the presidential primary has seen so far.

Democrats won back the House last year in large part on contrasting their health care plans with Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“I would think that hopefully as we emerge into the election year, the mantra will be more, health care for all Americans,” Pelosi said. 

Pelosi has been very protective of the Affordable Care Act, one of her signature achievements passed during the Obama administration.

During the push for passage in 2009, she supported a public option, but that element was stripped out to get the votes for passage in the Senate.