House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said today that she believes Democrats regained control of the U.S. House Tuesday by focusing on health care.
“The biggest winner yesterday was health care for the American people, for our seniors and our hard-working American families,” Pelosi said at a press conference. “Yesterday, health care was on the ballot, and health care won.”
Pelosi said House Democrats began focusing on health policy issues shortly after the general elections two years ago, because they believed they had a responsibility to protect the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats knew health care would be a good issue to focus on, because health care is so critical, and because protection against health care costs is so important to families’ economic security, Pelosi said.
Pelosi, who is the leading candidate to become the speaker of the House in January, said a former House speaker, Tip O’Neill, is famous for coming up with the saying, “All politics is local.”
“When it comes to health care,” Pelosi said, “all politics is personal.”
Health care affects every household in America, Pelosi said.
Pelosi said Republicans made statements that suggested that programs such as the Social Security Disability Insurance program and access to affordable health coverage for people with preexisting conditions were on the chopping block.
In spite of Republican efforts to distract and divide the Democrats, “our candidates kept their focus,” Pelosi said. “Voters delivered a resounding verdict against congressional Republicans’ attacks on Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, and people with preexisting conditions.”
Pelosi said House Democrats worked well with former President George W. Bush in 2007 and 2008, when she was the House speaker.
She suggested that one issue Democrats and Republicans could work together on today might be efforts to bring down prescription drug costs.
She said one way Republicans could show that they want to make a good faith effort to work with Democrats would be to withdraw Texas et al. v. USA et al., a federal lawsuit now being heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Republican officials in Texas and other states oppose the ACA “individual mandate” — the provision that requires many individuals to own major medical coverage. The Republican officials assert in Texas v. USA that they now have the legal ability to get the individual mandate nullified, because mandate no longer leads to a penalty, can no longer be classified as a tax, and can no longer enjoy the protection of the federal Anti-Injunction Act.
The Anti-Injunction Act keeps taxpayers from suing to block federal taxes before the taxes are imposed.
The plaintiffs in the Texas v. USA case also assert that, if the court throws out any part of the ACA, it should throw out all of the ACA, because the ACA includes no “savings clause” that would allow the rest of the act to survive if one part were blocked.